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Roasted Chicken Legs

PREP 30mins
COOK 50mins


4 chicken marylands, skin on
12-16 slices flat peppered pancetta
4 small parsnips, halved lengthways
1 1/2 onions, quartered
a few thyme sprigs
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
150g nameko or enoki mushrooms

herb & breadcrumb stuffing
30g butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup flat leaf parsley, plus extra to serve
1/4 cup tarragon, plus extra to serve
3/4 cup (50g) fresh breadcrumbs 

Tip~ Buy small parsnips if you can get your hands on them – they tend to be sweeter and not as woody in the centre.

 To make stuffing, melt butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic, season and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 mins, until onion is soft and translucent. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

2 Process onion mixture, parsley, tarragon and breadcrumbs in a food processor until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3 Remove thigh bones from marylands, keeping skin intact, by using point of a sharp knife, following bone, cutting down either side. Loosen bone at joint and pull bone back, teasing meat away with knife.

Spoon one-quarter of stuffing into pocket created by removing thigh bone of one chicken leg and press in firmly. Lay 3-4 slices of pancetta on a board, slightly overlapping. Wrap chicken leg in pancetta, enclosing stuffing. Repeat with remaining stuffing, chicken and pancetta. Wrap each chicken leg in a square of foil to secure stuffing. Place in fridge for 30 mins to cool and firm up slightly.

5 Preheat oven to 200C or 180C fan. Place chicken, still wrapped in foil, in a roasting pan and roast for 30 mins, until firm and almost cooked. Remove foil and return to oven for another 15 mins, until cooked and golden.

6 Meanwhile, line base of a heavy-based ovenproof frying pan with a sheet of foil and a sheet of baking paper, pressing down lightly. Add parsnip, onion and thyme. Season and A drizzle with olive oil, then toss to coat. Heat on medium and cook for 5 mins, turning, until lightly browned. Place pan in oven with chicken and roast for 20-25 mins, until cooked and golden. Add mushrooms and cook for another 2 mins, until softened.

 7 Serve chicken with parsnip, onion and mushrooms and scatter with extra herbs.


Gary’s secrets 
 •  I love the flavour of grain-fed chicken. If you can’t find it, a free range chicken will work just as well.

 •  This stuffing works brilliantly in Sunday’s roast chicken as well.

 •  There are great little exotic mushrooms available these days, so give them a try. The namekos I use add an earthy dimension and silky texture.



Slow-roasted pork belly

PREP 15mins
COOK 2hrs


1 tsp cumin seeds
4 star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
11/2 tbsp salt
1.5kg deboned thick pork belly, skin on
12 eschalots, peeled
12 garlic cloves
6 golden delicious or granny smith apples
20g butter
1/3 cup (75g) firmly packed brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1/4 cup (60ml) cider vinegar
100g sultanas
lemon cheeks, to serve


 Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Coarsely grind cumin, 3 star anise, fennel seeds and salt with a mortar and pestle. Score skin of pork and rub in ground spice mixture. If possible, do this several hours beforehand and leave in fridge to help draw out excess moisture and produce a really crisp crackling.

2 Place pork, skin side down, in a large heavy-based roasting pan. Roast for 11/2 hrs, until almost cooked through. Add eschalots and garlic, and turn pork skin side up. Increase heat to 240C or 220C fan and roast, basting regularly with pan juices, for another 30 mins, until skin is crisp. Remove from oven and rest in a warm place for 10 mins.

3 While pork is cooking, peel apples and, leaving them whole, remove cores and slice off tops and bases. Heat a medium frying pan on medium and add butter. Place apples into pan, flat sides down, and caramelise gently for 2-3 mins each side, until light golden. Sprinkle with brown sugar, and scatter over cinnamon, cloves and remaining star anise. Allow to bubble and melt for 1 min, and add vinegar, then sultanas. Cook for another 5 mins, until apples are tender and sauce is syrupy.

Thickly slice pork and serve with apples, eschalots, garlic and lemon cheeks..


 Gary’s secrets 

 • ork belly is at its melting best when cooked slow. Try reducing the initial oven temperature to 160C or 140C fan and cook for an extra 40 minutes.

 • Make gravy while the pork is resting. Heat pan on medium. Add 1/2 cup white wine, scraping sediment from base. Simmer until reduced by two-thirds. Crush eschalot a little and pour in a cup of good chicken stock. Bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes, until reduced by half. Add fresh thyme.

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