Serves 2-4

About a year ago I was given a fascinating terracotta pot by James Sayell of Sayell Foods in Hoxton (020-7256 1080). He told me that his terracotta manufacturer in Spain had made it specially for a French customer to cook chickens. It's an ingenious thing and Mr Lowe said it reminded him of the Antipodean beer- can chicken recipe - a strange creation in which you "stuff" the bird with an open can f of beer which bastes it from the inside. The great thing with this pot is that you just stick your chicken, stuffed with herbs and garlic, on the protruding cone in the centre of the dish, and place your potatoes and vegetables round the bottom so that they catch the juices as the chicken cooks. The following method uses just a normal terracotta dish or roasting tray.

1 good quality free-range chicken weighing about 1.2-1.5kg
1 large turnip, peeled and cut into large 2-3cm chunks or wedges
2 medium parsnips, peeled, quartered and cut into rough 2-3cm chunks
10-12 Jerusalem artichokes, peeled
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm thick slices on the slant
3 large red onions, cut into 6 wedges with the skin left on
10 cloves of garlic, skin left on
Any other seasonal root vegetables such as swede or celeriac
A few sprigs of rosemary and thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4tbsp olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Arrange the vegetables and garlic cloves in an ovenproof dish, season and spoon over half of the olive oil. Then put the herbs into the cavity of the chicken, season and brush with the rest of the olive oil. Place the chicken in the pot with the vegetables and cook for 1 hour, basting 2 or 3 times during cooking and turning the vegetables so they colour evenly. To serve, cut the chicken into joints or carve the meat and serve with the vegetables.