Traditional Easter Feast


The year is bookmarked by special events that call for a little tradition, which is where my love of cooking my way through the classics kicks in. Over the Easter period, some of us opt for leg of lamb while others go for hot cross buns and pickled fish. I’ve seldom considered roast chicken for Easter, though, but it’s very traditional, and a lighter option than leg of lamb. The grain salad adds a deliciously earthy flavour to the in-between-seasons delight.

Traditional Easter Feast with Cinnamon Smoked Onion and Grain Salad

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Serves: 4


for the roast chicken

1 whole free-range chicken

275 ml (250 g) butter, salted

10 g thyme, fresh

5 basil leaves, fresh

1 bay leaf

3 lemons

for the vinaigrette

20 ml whole-grain mustard

60 ml aged balsamic vinegar

120 ml olive oil

5 ml lemon zest

10 ml lemon juice

5 g flat-leaf parsley (chopped)

Maldon salt


for the onion grain salad

2 onions

2 cinnamon sticks, whole

150 ml brown lentils

250 ml barley

30 ml canola oil

salt and pepper


for the roast chicken

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Place butter, half of the herbs and the zest of one lemon in a small saucepot and melt over a low heat. Slice 1 lemon into quarters and place the lemon wedges, bay leaf, 3 basil leaves and remaining thyme in the cavity of the whole chicken. Place the chicken in a roasting tray and generously brush with the infused butter. Roast the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes and brush with more of the infused butter, roast for another 30 minutes and brush again. Turn the oven temperature to 200 °C and roast for another 10 minutes before removing it from the oven. Ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

for the vinaigrette

Whisk together the whole-grain mustard and balsamic vinegar until well combined in a medium mixing bowl, slowly add the olive oil while constantly whisking, add the lemon zest, lemon juice and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper and dress the lentils and barley with the dressing in a mixing bowl. Place the grains at the bottom of a serving tray and place the onion with the cinnamon stick intact on top.

for the onion and grain salad

Place lentils and barley in separate small pots and cook according to package instructions. Cook the lentils and barley until tender before straining.

Keep the onion and its skin intact and use a sharp paring knife to cut five segments lengthwise, only through the skin and first onion petal. Gently open the petals. Use an apple corer to remove the centre of the onion, only halfway through. Place a cinnamon stick through the center of the onion and drizzle with canola oil, use a blowtorch to light the cinnamon stick and allow the onion to smoke for 10 – 15 minutes. Place in a roasting tray lined with foil and season with salt and pepper and cover with foil to create a basket for the onion. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until tender.

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