Serves 3 to 4, depending on the size of the chicken
This is one of our firm favourites!
150 ml port
150 ml red wine
3 bay leaves
1 star anise
3 dried red chillies
Few sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbs balsamic
1 chicken, spatchcocked
To spatchcock the chicken, cut out and discard the backbone. A pair of poultry shears makes this job easy but a sturdy pair of scissors will do. Place the chicken breast side up and push down on it with the heel of your hand. The chicken should now be flattened out.
Pour the port and red wine into a small thick based saucepan and boil rapidly until reduced to about 5 tablespoons (75 ml). Put the bay leaves, star anise, chillies and thyme into a bowl and pour over the port/wine mixture. Leave for 3 hours, then strain, season with salt and pepper and stir in the balsamic.
Place the chicken in a glass roasting dish. Gently ease the skin of the chicken breast away from the flesh making sure not to go all the way through to the other end, to create a pocket on each breast for the marinade. Pour some of the marinade into the pockets and rub the skin to spread the marinade out over the flesh. Pour or brush the remaining marinade over the outside of the chicken, making sure the breast, legs and wings are coated. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 24 hours, turning the chicken over half way through.
To cook the chicken, pre-heat the oven to 180º. Make sure the chicken is breast side up. Tightly cover the dish with foil and cook the chicken for 65 or 70 minutes, depending on its size. After this time, uncover the chicken, baste it and continue to cook it uncovered for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Baste it frequently during this period to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Once cooked, remove the dish from the oven, cover