I’ve heard that roasting a chicken is one of the easiest things to do in the world. I wasn’t quite sure about this myself until I recently tried a simple roast chicken recipe I found online. I think what could go wrong with roasting any kind of bird is that the meat may either be dry and overcooked or undercooked. The recipe I followed was foolhardy and resulted in a roast that was moist on the inside with a crunchy, crispy skin on the outside.
However, I had a ‘Duh!’ moment when I realised that putting in vegetables with the chicken that was being roasted at 190 degrees Centigrade for more than an hour meant certain death for the veggies. In my defense, I was only following the recipe. Maybe this is what you get if you don’t use your own intuition and common sense in matters of cooking 😉
So in the end, we had the chicken minus any vegetables for dinner. Although, I did manage to make a real rich and smooth gravy to go with it which compensated a tiny bit for the loss of my precious onions and carrots.
Simple Roast Chicken (original recipe from www.bbcgoodfood.com)
1 medium sized onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 whole chicken – the original recipe is for a 1.5kg chicken, the one I used was a little over 1.5kg in weight
bunch of thyme
1-2 tbsp flour
about 250ml chicken stock – I used a ready-made stock cube to make the stock
Herb butter – Instead of using just plain butter, I used a tip from my Jamie Oliver cookbook and made some herb butter by mixing in some garlic and thyme along with lemon zest, salt and pepper to 100g unsalted butter.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade. Season the chicken’s cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff in the thyme and lemon. Place the chicken in a roasting tray and smear the butter all over. Place the roasting tray in the oven and cook for an hour and 20 minutes. Since my chicken was a bit heavier, I left it in 15-20 minutes longer.
Check to see if the chicken is cooked by piercing the thickest part of the flesh on the thigh with a skewer. If the juices run clear, it is done. Remove the tray from the oven. Take out the chicken, place it on to a cutting board and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
The only problem with this recipe is that it asks for the vegetables to be put in along with the chicken in the same tray right from the start. As I said earlier, this pretty much means burning the vegetables to death and all I was left with were some charred remains stuck to the tray. Therefore, I’d recommend either putting them in at the halfway point of the process or roasting them in a separate tray altogether for a lesser period of time.
To make the gravy – Place the roasting tray on the stove over a low heat. Add the flour. Stir until it’s mixed through. Pour in the stock and let it simmer until it’s thick. Strain the liquid into a separate pan or serving dish and season to taste.
Any juices that pour out while carving the chicken can be added to the gravy. There’s a handy step by step guide to carving a chicken on the Saveur magazine website here.
Serve the chicken with lashings of gravy and vegetables on the side (if you’re luckier than me ;)) and enjoy!
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