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Chicken from the Golden Age

User Rating 4 Star Rating (1 Review)


I've read quite a few old Dutch cookbooks in my time, and I based this recipe on one I found in De Verstandige Kok (The Sensible Cook), which was originally published in Dutch in 1669.

The Dutch cooked with many herbs and spices back then. In fact, the mixture of rosemary, thyme, basil and marjoram used in this recipe was specifically referred to as vleeskruiden (translates to 'meat herbs').

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 10 fresh marjoram leaves
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp bacon lardons
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 chicken drumsticks


Preheat oven to 482 degrees F (250 degrees C). Place the ingredients for the bacon butter (everything except the chicken) in a food processor and blitz smooth. Creating funnels under the skin of the drumsticks with your fingers (this is no time to be squeamish), push the butter mixture under the skin and massage in. Rub a little over the top of the drumsticks too.

Place the chicken on a wire rack that fits over a roasting tray. Roast for approximately 30 - 40 minutes (ovens vary tremendously), or until the skin turns golden brown and crispy, and the juices run clear when you poke the thickest part of the flesh with a metal skewer. I always think you can smell when the chicken is done, but maybe that's just me.

Serve with a few slices of lemon and a mixed green salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing.


  • If you don't have a special roasting tray with a fitted wire rack, don't despair: you can cheat by balancing a wire cooling tray (the type you'd normally cool your cookies on) over a cookie sheet or roasting tray -- just be careful when you move it as it won't be as stable. What I love about using a wire rack is that the fat can drip away, you don't have to turn the chicken and you're not left with soggy bottom bits.
  • This bacon butter is also fabulous with fish.
  • User Reviews

    Reviews for this section have been closed.

     4 out of 5
    Delicious, Member Lemongrassandcoriander

    The picture does not do justice to this recipe; obviously it's hard to take a picture once one has been cooking, so I won't hold that against anybody. But this is a delicious dish and tastes good. I preheat my oven at 450F; that's hot enough. A drumstick definitely does not need 40 minutes, it's too long. An average 25 to 30 minutes will do the job; it varies on the type of oven but 30 minutes should be fine. Don't let this chicken get cold, it would be a waste. This is a wonderful dish to replace a ""Sunday's Roast"" or anything else you like to serve for your family on an easy weekend day.

    8 out of 9 people found this helpful.

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