While there is no danger of this becoming a foodie blog, I am aware that dinner time can be a stressful time. What to cook when you’re on a budget, have growing bodies to nurture and are time poor? While I’m no gourmet cook (my sister wears that hat in our family) I do ok and manage to get the kids to eat at least some of their dinner… most of the time.
Tonight: the humble roast chicken.
I vividly remember cooking my first roast soon after we got married. It was a roast beef and about two hours into attempting to orchestrate a meal, I was standing in the middle of my kitchen in tears, surrounded by half-cooked food. It was years before I attempted another roast.
The first time I cooked a roast chicken, I removed it from the freezer in the morning, and when I went to cook it that night it was still rock hard. Bonus tip: defrost your chicken the day before.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Take your chicken and dab it dry with a paper towel. Stuff the cavity either with stuffing (make a simple stuffing from breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley and an egg) or cut a lemon in half and whack it in.
Pop it on top of a rack in a roasting tray and put a cup or so of water in the bottom of the tray. Massage a good amount of olive oil all over the chicken. At this point I’m generally reliving my physio days with all the oil and massage and whatever (yes, I realise that makes me sound like I had another interesting career, but it was all business, I swear). Grind a whole heap of sea salt all over and rub it in. The salt is what helps to dry out and crisp the skin up, so go hard.
I tend to put it on the lower shelf and put the roast veggies on the top shelf until the vegetables are nice and browned, then swap for the final part of the cooking to crisp and brown up the chicken skin.
For a 2kg chicken, leave it in the oven for an hour and forty five minutes to two hours. To check if it’s cooked, poke a skewer into the thickest part of the breast – the juices should be clear and not pink. Rest it for ten or twenty minutes out of the oven. Serve with roast vegetables, cauliflower and broccoli with cheese sauce (this deserves a post all of its own – best comfort food ever!), peas and gravy.
I’m the world’s worst chicken carver so there is no advice from me for that… I tend to hack it up into bits, but the boys don’t seem to mind.
Do you have a roast chicken tip to share? Or do you have a roast-phobia too?
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