Monday, 1 November 2010

Best Roast Chicken

Sunday lunch is chicken. Always if my children have any say. Roast chicken, potatoes, gravy. No pudding, but maybe fruit.

Yesterday: potatoes were great, chicken, cooked by steam for a change, not up to scratch. My usual method of very fast roasting gets out all the fat. So the breast meat was moist, but the darker meat was a bit too fatty. Kind of flobby.

Best Roast Chicken

1 chicken - not a pappy one, a free range one
olive oil
pepper and salt

Preheat oven for 20m, at Gas Mark 9 or equivalent (475F/240C), and make it very hot.
Allow 15 minutes per 500g/1lb and add 15 minutes. So a 2kg/4lb bird will take an hour and a quarter.

o    Rinse chicken inside and out and dry the outside with kitchen towels.
o    Pop several cloves of garlic into the cavity of the chicken.
o    Trickle a good slug of olive oil onto the bottom of a roomy roasting tin.
o    Put chicken into the oiled roasting tin and pour some more olive oil over the bird, followed by
o    sprinkling on several good pinches of salt and generous grindings of pepper.
o    Put the chicken into the preheated oven for 15m.
o    After 15m take the bird out and baste it with the juices and sit it on one side.
o    turn the oven down to Gas Mark 7/475F/220C and cook for 15m per pound, basting and turning every 15m.
o    When the cooking time is complete you can test the bird by prodding with something sharp between the leg and the body - if the juice that comes out is red, cook a little bit more. When the juice is clear, the bird is cooked.
o    Let the cooked chicken rest for a few minutes under a covering of foil or baking parchment. This lets the meat relax and stops the delicious juices evaporating.

Carve as you like and eat with whatever you fancy. Not cake.  Yum

A friend’s mum used to like to cook her chicken standing up ‘because it looks more natural’ apparently. She must have had a large oven and not been that bothered about spatters. She propped her chicken on an improvised trivet thing. I imagine it looked like it was begging. Since then I’ve seen lots of different recipes that plonk the chicken like this, some involving cola cans. The good thing about cooking a bird in this position is that the meat will cook more evenly – inserting a can into the cavity will help it cook from the inside out as well. If you’re trying this, please open the can and wrap it carefully in foil – who knows what is used to print onto it. I’ll post a recipe once I’ve tried it out.

Maybe you like stuffing with your roast chicken. If you put it into the bird before roasting you’ll need to cook the chicken much longer, because it increases density and that means the heat takes longer to cook everything. This usually makes the meat much drier, especially the ever popular breast. That’s why people slather it in bacon, or put fat under the skin. That’s why I cook stuffing separately if I cook it, which mostly I don’t unless I am feeding the 5,000 (or Christmas).

Other chicken recipes: marinated chicken strips chicken on forty cloves of garlic flattened chicken 

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