Take your Sunday roast up a notch with the addition of wild garlic butter (all photographs by Gary Congress)

Wild garlic's in season now, so take a long walk in the country to fill your pockets then try your hand at one (or all) of these four recipes

Wild Garlic Roasted Chicken with Shallots

1.7kg whole chicken
50g wild garlic
1 garlic bulb
2 x 45g butter, room temperature
1 lemon
8 shallots
Sea salt
​350ml water (stock or white wine optional)

Unwrap your chicken and pat dry using kitchen paper. Take out the giblets (keep them for making a stock or gravy later). Place the chicken in a roasting tin and leave to rest at room temperature. Heat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6.

Finely chop the wild garlic leaves and place them in a bowl. Pull a garlic clove from the bulb. Peel and finely grate it into the bowl. Add the soft, room temperature butter and finely grate in the lemon zest. Add plenty of salt and pepper. Mix together until well combined and vivid green. Using your fingers, or the end of a wooden spoon, lift the skin from the chicken breast, taking care not to tear it. Place half of the butter under the skin and massage it in. Keep the rest of the butter for later.

Halve the garlic bulb and the lemon and pop them into the cavity of the chicken. Arrange the unpeeled shallots around the chicken. Loosely cover the chicken with foil, scrunching it onto the sides of the tin. Roast for 45 minutes, then remove from the oven and pour 350ml water, white wine or chicken stock into the base of the dish. Recover with foil and roast for a further 30 minutes.

After the chicken has cooked for 1 hour 15 minutes in total, remove the foil. Baste it with the juices. Spoon over the remaining butter and place back in the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes. The chicken should be cooked through. Check by inserting a knife or skewer into the leg. The juices should run clear. If they are pink, slide back into the oven for 10 minutes or until the juices are clear.

Lift the chicken and shallots out of the dish and onto a plate. Remove the garlic and lemon. Cover the chicken with a loose tent of foil and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Serve slices of the buttery wild garlic chicken with the roast shallots and the juices from the pan spooned over.

Wild Garlic Pesto

Serves 3-4

½ mug of toasted nuts (pinenuts, almonds, even pumpkin or sunflower seeds)
1 mug of freshly grated parmesan
4 handfuls of wild garlic, roughly chopped
Pinch of fresh red chilli (optional)

​Glug of olive oil
Pinch of sea salt

Place the nuts, parmesan, wild garlic and chilli in a food processor. Add a good drizzle of olive oil over the top. Blitz until it forms a nice paste – make it as smooth as you wish, splashing more oil in as needed.

Give it a taste. Adjust the seasoning, or add more nuts, parmesan, wild garlic or chilli as needed, and blitz again.

Serve immediately. Or pop into a pot, drizzle a bit of oil over the top, cover and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. It also freezes well.

Wild Sea Purslane Pesto

Handful of wild sea purslane, leaves only
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Pinch or two of sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
A few pine nuts
Drizzle of olive oil

Here’s a speedy vegan pesto recipe by Wross from East Sussex. Add the wild sea purslane and crushed garlic cloves to a blender (or a deep bowl if using a hand blender). Season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of freshly ground pepper. Add a few pine nuts to the bowl or blender with a drizzle of olive oil. Blend until all of the ingredients have come together. Serve on top of pasta, or anything else you like.

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Wild garlic spices up a simple vegetable soup

Wild Garlic Spring Soup

Serves 2

Bunch of salad onions
1 carrot
1 celery stick
2 garlic cloves
½ tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
​300g potatoes
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Handful of wild garlic
1 vegetable stock cube

Method

Trim the rooty ends from your salad onions. Thinly slice the whites and light green. Save the darker green bits for the end. Peel or scrub your carrot. Finely dice. Clean your celery. Finely dice. Peel and finely chop your garlic.

Heat a large pot on the hob. Add ½ tbsp of oil. Swirl in your veg with a pinch of salt and pepper. Lower the heat and sizzle until the veg is just softened.

Slice your spuds into 1cm thick rounds. Fold them and the mustard through the softened veg. Sizzle a moment. Add the water and crumble in the stock cube. Bring to the boil. Lower heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or till the potatoes are tender right the way through.

Thinly slice the reserved spring onion greens and add to the soup. Finely shred the wild garlic leaves and add to the soup right before serving. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Want even more wild garlic ideas? Try finely chopping the leaves and sprinkling over salads, swirl them through your mashed spuds, and sneak them into sarnies.

All recipes courtesy of Abel & Cole

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