"You Get What You Get Don't You Mummy?"

"You Get What You Get Don't You Mummy?"
"You Get What You Get Don't You Mummy?". Family food ideas for families who want to eat yummy food

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Roast chicken


I love roast chicken. I love the smell, as its cooking. The sticky bits in the roasting tray that help to make incredible gravy. At the end of the meal, I love pulling the flesh off the chicken, & nibbling the tasty bits for myself. The bones are put in a pot and along with a stick of celery (broken in half), a carrot broken in half), an onion (cut in half), a large sprig of parsley, 6 peppercorns and enough water to just cover everything.

Simmer very gently for 3 hours, Strain. When cool, refrigerate or freeze.

Roast chicken in 45 mins

Sometimes, even during a busy week, (and quite often I do this on a Monday), I want roast chicken. Generally, its just time, that puts us off, but then I discovered you can actually roast a whole chicken in 45 mins. The reason the start of the week is good to do this means that you can use the stock that you can make with the bones and all the leftovers to make further meals during the week. Whether you buy cheap supermarket chickens or a lovely free range bird is down to you, your conscience and your budget. Regardless of these factors, this way of cooking a bird, produces a beautifully roasted chicken with juicy, delicious meat and a crisp skin. What more could you want!

1 whole chicken (spatchcocked)

6 unpeeled cloves of garlic

1 sprig of rosemary

1 lemon

Few glugs of olive oil

Freezer bag

Preheat the oven to 180°c.

As most people buy their chickens from the supermarket, it makes sense to expect that you can do this yourself. You can do this with a pair of sharp scissors. Turn the bird on its breast and cut down either side of the backbone. Remove it. Turn the bird back over and press down firmly on the breast bone to flatten it out. Easy! You can, however, ask your butcher to spatchcock your chicken for you.

If you have time, do this bit in the morning. If not don’t worry. Put the chicken, garlic and rosemary in the freezer bag. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bag. Throw the skin in too. Pour a good glug of olive oil into the bag and give everything a good squish around. Leave in the bag preferably for at least an hour on the kitchen side, or in the fridge until you are ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 180°. Empty the contents of the chicken bag into a roasting tray. Lay the chicken flat with the skin side uppermost. Season, and put in the oven for 45 mins.

Chicken Gravy

Remove from the oven after 45 mins and check that the chicken is cooked through, by inserting a knife where the thigh joint is. Then let the bird rest for 10 mins before carving. I serve this in the summer with salad and bread. In the winter with mash.

You can make a gravy with the pan juices. Put the pan on the heat. Add 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir to make a paste. Add a good splash of white wine or vermouth. Stir in to loosen the paste. Gradually add chicken stock . (I tend to use hot water from the kettle, and add a few drops of liquid chicken stock). Stir or whisk, to form a gravy to the thickness you like.

Leftover gravy must never be thrown away. It can be frozen. A little bit of proper chicken gravy has so many uses. One is to add it to the risotto recipe below. Cooking is more about instinct than recipes. If you think something needs it, then add it. Usually that works.

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