Sweet wine basted chicken, apple and fennel slaw

In praise of the rotisserie barbecue attachment

There’s something slightly theatrical about food that needs to rotate slowly in order to cook.  I don’t mean in a microwave kind of way, where the heat is generated by some kind of hidden neutron particle blitzing contraption that requires a PhD in nuclear science to really understand.

Oh no, the rotating I’m talking about goes as far back as mankind himself: The ethereal combination of naked flame and slow turning food to ensure even cooking, succulent texture and deep brown patina  like polished mahogany. If you haven’t got a rotisserie attachment for the BBQ, then just use the old fashioned method of fixing up a pole above an open fire. But be careful!

1 whole chicken

1 lemon

Large bunch of thyme

Handful of garlic cloves, peeled

250ml sweet dessert wine, decanted into a plastic spray bottle


For the slaw:

2 egg yolks

½ tbsp white wine vinegar + ½ tsp

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

225ml veg oil

25 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 bulb fennel

1 red onion

400g white cabbage (about ¼ of a large whole cabbage)

Salt and pepper to taste


Firstly, fire up the rotisserie on your BBQ, or build a rotisserie frame over an open fire like you’ve seen in the movies. Place a metal tray in the bottom of the BBQ, and then another smaller one inside that to collect the cooking juices. Remove the chicken from the fridge at least half an hour before cooking.  Season the chicken inside with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rub the outside of the chicken with oil and season that liberally with sea salt.

Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice over the chicken. Stuff one half of the squeezed lemon inside the cavity of the chicken, followed by a handful of fresh thyme sprigs and the peeled garlic. Plug the whole with the other half of the lemon. Thread the chicken onto the rotisseries spike. Cook, lid down for about an hour and a half, basting every ten to fifteen minutes by spraying the wine over the chicken as it turns immediately followed by a good basting from the juices that collect in the tray. The best method to test if its cooked is with a meat thermometer. It should read 70°C before you remove the chicken and then rest for 15 minutes before serving, covered loosely with foil.

While the chicken is cooking, make the slaw: Put the egg yolks, ½ tbsp of the white wine vinegar and the mustard in the bowl of a food processor.  With the lid on, and the motor running, slowly drizzle the veg oil into the bowl down the opening in the lid. As it forms an emulsion and thickens, you can pour in a faster stream. Finally add the extra virgin olive oil and season with salt to taste. Set aside in the fridge. Finely shred all the veg on a mandolin, or slice very thinly by hand. Add the ½ tsp of white wine vinegar; combine well with the reserved mayonnaise and season to taste. Refrigerate in a covered container until required.

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