Roast chicken and bread salad with sour cherries and roasted red onions

Roast chicken and bread salad with sour cherries and roasted red onions

A Year In My Kitchen

I love torn bread salads – the trick is to combine the salad while the bread is still warm, so it can absorb and take on all the flavours. Here, a freshly cooked bird with real flavour is essential – last night’s roast chicken will not do. You can replace the chicken with finely sliced Parma ham or, for a meat-free version, lace the bread generously with sweet grilled red peppers and black olives.


Quantity Ingredient

Roast chicken

Quantity Ingredient
1 small free-range organic chicken
1 lemon, halved
1 small bunch thyme
2 bay leaves
small bunch parsley
5 garlic cloves, halved
1 dried red chilli
olive oil, to drizzle
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons dried sour cherries
1 loaf 1-day-old chewy peasant-style bread
150ml extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup see method for ingredients
1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon
2 tablespoons saba or good quality balsamic vinegar
large handful rocket
2-3 tablespoons see method for ingredients
1 lemon, finely grated zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Rinse the chicken inside and out and remove the little fat deposits just inside of the cavity. Pat dry. Put one lemon half into the cavity along with the thyme, bay leaves, parsley, garlic and crumbled dried chilli. Squeeze the juice from the other lemon half over the chicken skin, then drizzle with olive oil, massaging it into the skin with your fingers. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the chicken in a roasting tray and roast for 15 minutes, then lower the oven setting to 180°C and roast for a further 45 minutes or until cooked through. To test, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer – the juices should run clear. Leave to rest in a warm place until cool enough to handle. Pour off the fat from the roasting tray, saving the juices.
  3. For the salad, soak the sour cherries (or other dried fruit) in warm water to cover for 10 minutes. Cut the loaf in half lengthways and tear with your hands into pieces, roughly 3–4cm square. Spread out on a baking tray and drizzle with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 8–10 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Tip the bread into a large salad bowl. While it is still warm, drizzle over extra virgin olive oil, adjusting the quantity as necessary – the bread should not feel dry. Add the roasted red onions, capers, preserved lemon and saba or balsamic vinegar. Toss together with your hands. Drain the cherries and pat dry, then add to the salad.
  5. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, tear the flesh off the bones and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to the salad and drizzle over the roasting juices. Toss the chicken through, then add the rocket and toss again. Check the seasoning.
  6. Pile the salad into a serving dish, drizzle over the basil oil and sprinkle with lemon zest. Serve straight away, while still just warm.
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