This recipe which I edited slightly from the version in the Oktoberfest Insider Guide by Sabine Kafer, comes from my beer and food book An Appetite for Ale. The secret is the lavish last minute slathering with butter.
1 small chicken (about 1.2kg or 2lb 10 oz. Geitl stresses the importance of this being dry-plucked)
Salt and pepper
A good handful of fresh parsley with the stalks
50g (2 oz) unsalted butter
An hour before roasting season the chicken generously with pepper and salt “so that even the preparation makes your mouth water” Wash the parsley, shake dry, chop roughly and stuff inside the chicken. If you have a rotisserie attachment in your oven preheat the oven to 220°C/425° F/Gas 7, skewer the chicken on the spit and roast for about an hour.
Alternatively preheat the oven to 200° C, and put the bird breast side downwards in a roasting tin. (Geitl recommends not using a fan oven or fan oven setting for this as it will dry the meat out. Not sure I agree about that.). Roast for about 30 minutes then turn the bird breast upwards and finish cooking (allow 25 minutes per pound in total - just over an hour for a bird of this size.)
Either way - and this is crucial - 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time the bird should be coated with fresh, soft but not runny butter. Repeat this process 4-5 times. To check if the chicken is ready stick a skewer or the point of a sharp knife into the thickest part of the leg. The juices should run clear. Cut the chicken in half down the breastbone and serve half a portion each.
Best beer matches: At the Oktoberfest it would be served with a light Helles beer but I prefer it with a classic Oktoberfest Märzen or a golden lager like Budweiser Budvar.
Photograph © Miredi at fotolia.com
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