Thursday, June 9, 2011

Magic Roast Chicken

OK, this time we're taking it up a notch.  This is roast chicken with a twist.


The secret is that this is a self-basting chicken. The bigger secret is that it's reallllly easy!

Before you start taking the chicken out of its bag, do a quick bit of preparation:  in a small bowl, mix 1-2 tablespoons of softened butter with a clove of garlic (chopped, sliced, or crushed), a teaspoon of lemon zest, and a teaspoon of chopped herbs (I used basil and thyme.  Please use basil if you can get it.)  Set aside.
Cut one lemon into quarters, and set it aside too.
..and preheat the oven.  I always forget that.  180C please.

Now, take one whole chicken.  Double-check it's clean (they still shove little plastic bags of liver inside them every now and then),  and pat it dry with a paper towel.
Using your fingers, make a small pocket between the skin and each breast (this is usually quite simple, just push gently through the neck-hole.  You could use a dessert spoon if squeamish, but be careful not to tear the skin).  Divide the butter mixture between the two pockets, and then tuck the loose skin back into the neck-hole.  Your chicken should now look a little like this:


Trust me, it is worth it.
Shove the quartered lemon up the chicken's bum.  Yes, really.  
Tie feet together with kitchen string (I use these really cool silicon bands I picked up in Portland, Oregon) and use a skewer to hold the lemon in if required.
Now drape a piece of tinfoil over the chicken (this stops the butter burning) and pop it in the oven.  Remove the foil after 30 minutes, and roast a further 40 minutes or until cooked.
(To check if the bird is done, poke a skewer into the thick part of the thigh.  Juices should run clear. The legs tend to move freely and almost fall away when you touch them.)

To carve a chicken, I generally remove the legs with a knife and a pair of tongs.  They don't typically put up a fight, and should come away easily.  Repeat for wings.


Now, carve the breast, slicing across the grain with a sharp knife.  See all that flavour packed under the skin?  Magic.


Serve with brussels sprouts, or your favourite roast veg, and gravy.  But use a nicer jug than I did if you are entertaining!


I need to make this again, soon.  My mouth is watering! 

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