And now, we come to one of the most important recipes any home chef should have in his or her repertoire, roast chicken. (Insert Homer Simpson style drool here)
I suppose the roast chook has been a major part of my life since I was a little boy. I used to sit in the kitchen on a Sunday, watching my mother prepare the birds for roasting, she always cooked two; one for the family dinner that day, and one to do sandwiches with the next day. And now I do too.
You can do just so many things with a roasted chicken; you can serve it hot with the full works: stuffing, roast potatoes and a couple of vegetable dishes, and the pan juices, or in hot chicken sandwiches, like they do in the delis of New York City, or cold with salads and jacket potatoes. You can also shred it up and reheat in sauces like a curry or in a soup.
One more thing you can do with the cooked meat is cut it up and toss it in a noodle salad, or you can just nosh on it.
Last Friday I was put in charge of the chicken, and I decided to cook it the following way, which is sort of based on the prep stipulated by Jamie Oliver in The Naked Chef, and how my mother roasts her chicken.
I’ve been doing roast chicken this way ever since my godmother Penny’s eldest son Matthew told me about it when I went to his house for lunch once.
Jacko’s Simple Roast Chicken – adapted from The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver
A whole chicken, brought to room temperature
1 lemon, cut into segments
A few cloves of garlic
A few sprigs of thyme
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190c, fan 170c. Place the chicken in a roasting tin.
Into the cavity of the chicken put the lemon, garlic and thyme. Don’t pack it too tightly. Season the outside of the bird.
Pop into the oven and allow to roast for 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes until golden brown and the juices run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the leg. Another way of checking is to give the legs a little pull, and if they give way, they’re done.
Remove from the oven, and allow the meat to rest for at least 15 minutes. This is very important, it allows the juices to go back into the meat.
Carve the meat, and serve as desired. For tips on carving, there are a few good videos on YouTube.
If you want to, you can do this in a roasting bag like I have in the picture. Simply place the chicken in the bag, prepare it as stipulated above and tie up the bag. Cut a couple of slits in the top, and roast as usual.