The cool thing about roast chicken is that everyone can make it and everyone thinks their version is the best. For me it's all about taking little ideas from each and playing around with flavours, timing, cooking technique etc. until you end up with your ultimate. I must be honest, The Princess comes pretty close to the best I've had with her version. Here is mine.
Stuff you'll need to feed 4 people:
- One organic chicken, trimmed and cleaned
- A bunch of thyme
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- One large lemon, quartered
- One head of garlic plus about 4 or 5 extra cloves for the vegetables
- Olive oil
- One large butternut, quartered lengthways
- About 6 courgettes, cut in half lengthways
- 2 red onions, quartered
- 1 red pepper, seeds removed and roughly chopped
- About 5 patty pans cut in half
Okay, what to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Rub the chicken with olive oil and thyme and season generously.
2. Stuff the chicken's cavity (its bum) with the lemon and the entire head of garlic. Tie the legs with with string to secure.
3. On a large, deep baking sheet arrange the vegetables so that they fit snugly around the chicken. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables and season well. Place whole garlic cloves in between vegetables.
4. Cover the chicken with tin foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. After 3o minutes, remove tinfoil and cook for about 25 minutes or until done. To test, check the colour of the liquid coming off the chicken. When it runs clear, it is done.
5. To serve, remove the garlic and lemon from the chicken and squeeze out the roasted garlic. Mix it with some of the lemon juice and pour over the carved chicken and vegetables.
What makes the chicken, for me, is the vegetables you serve it with. This is definitely a case of getting the best organic produce you can find. It might cost a bit more but is totally worth it in this recipe. Cooking it like I have above puts more of an emphasis on keeping the meat moist, rather than browning the skin. I do this because I don't actually eat the skin. "BUT IT'S THE BEST PART JAMIE. IT'S THE BEST PART!! IT'S SO AWESOME." I know. Do you know what else is awesome? Not being fat.