Monday, 2 March 2009

Lovely Roast Chicken


The simplest things in life are often the best. A classic roast chicken, one of the easiest things to make, yet so tasty and comforting. Of course, I always buy the best quality I can and eek out the whole chicken to get as many meals as possible. See these tips from Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and River Cottage.

I roasted it up on Sunday in plenty of herby, garlicky butter and we feasted on it with some roast butternut squash and cauliflower cheese (see below). Then came the messy part, I pulled off every last shred of meat for use in a vietnamese(ish) chicken salad, and the scraps will go into a soup with various odds and ends from the veg box. The carcass and giblets can then go into a pot for several hours with a carrot, onion and some bay to become a thick and wobbly stock. Of course, more often than not, I don't exactly feel like making stock late on a Sunday night, so I chuck the bones in the freezer, ready to make a big batch at a later date.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 free-range or organic chicken at room temperature
50g soft butter
2 fat cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 handful herbs such as sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram
1 lemon

  • Remove any trussing and giblets from the bird, give it a quick rinse inside and out, pat dry and place in a large roasting tin.
  • Make two slices in the thighs all the way to the bone, this will allow the bird to cook more evenly so you end up with succulent breast meat and tender thighs.
  • Put the butter in a bowl with the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and the zest of the lemon. squish th emixture together with your fingers.
  • Gently prize the skin away from the breast so you're left with a gap, squeeze half you butter in between and rub it all over the breast. Smear the remainder over the thighs. Cut the lemon in half, squeeze a little over the bird and put the rest in the cavity.
  • Place in the middle of a hot oven for 30 mins until the skin begins to crispen, now turn it down to 180C and cook for a further 40mins.
  • You can tell the chicken is done by poking a knife into the chicken where the thigh joins the breast; the juices released should run clear.
  • Take the bird out and allow to rest for 20-30mins before carving.

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