So, you get those meals that have the WOW factor. Dishes that you bring out when people are over for dinner. I love them. They're always a bit 'different' and they always have a bit of a gimmick/novelty that gets people talking. It's basically cookery theatre and I must be honest I milk it by putting on a bit of a show. People will look at you verrrry skeptically when you pull this one out but jeez it's a show-stopper. The vibe here is that you create a cooking pocket by making an airtight crust. This then creates an awesome steaming process and the end result is a beautifully moist and tender chicken. When you take the chicken out the oven, take it to the table and break open the crust there. The steam will come rushing out, along with the aromas from the herbs and the lemon. Your guests will clap, you will smile, people will eat.
Stuff you'll need to feed 4:
- 1 whole organic chicken
- 2 lemons
- 2 handfuls of fresh oregano
- 1 handful of fresh thyme
- 8 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 1kg of flour
Okay, what to do:
1. Put your flour in a bowl and slowly mix in 500ml of water, creating a dough that is elastic and not too sticky. Cover and set aside.
2. Remove the zest from the lemons. In a pestle and mortar (or a deep bowl and something heavy!) bash up the oregano, thyme, lemon zest, garlic and some olive oil. Add the oil as necessary to create a paste. Season well with salt and pepper.
3. Rub the entire chicken inside and out with the marinade. Slice the lemons and stuff inside the bird.
4. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius. Get your dough and roll out, judging it so the dough will cover the chicken. Fold up the edges and mold the dough around the chicken to create a parcel thingy. MAKE SURE IT IS AIRTIGHT. Leave for 5 minutes and then place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours and 15 minutes. This might seem long but it won't dry out and it would be a bummer if you took the bird to the table, cracked open the crust and the chicken was undercooked. Can anyone say anti-climax?
5. Remove, and allow to rest for 15 minutes. The pastry will have hardened up. Do not eat the pastry. It will smell amazing but control yourself. You're not a wild animal so get a grip.
6. To serve, take the entire pastry on a wooden board to the table. Crack it open. Glory.
Did I mention how healthy this method of cooking is? No? Well, that's how we roll here. What's that? What is that awesome looking salad? That's just a little something The Princess knocked up to go with it. Roasted beetroot and butternut with rocket with corn. Not kak.
The only way this could be more impressive is to do it on the Weber. Now that would be killer...
I'm a new reader to your delightful blog - found it a few days ago and I'm absolutely hooked! This looks like a great idea, I think I'll try it tonight.
I'm a student tho, and I tend to cook for one. Do you think it would be as good if I just used individual chicken pieces? If so, which part of the chicken would be best?
Meela, good to have you. Ummm...with this one I would say you have to use the whole chicken. But after you've eaten, shred the rest of the meat and use it for lunch the next day. Put in on some sourdough with avo and cottage cheese or use it in a wrap with cherry tomatoes, rocket and some roasted butternut. Throw some into a pasta with mushrooms, use it in a couscous salad etc. You get the vibe hey? One cooked chicken can feed a student like 3 times! If it is WAY too much just freeze the meat after you have de-boned it. It'll keep for a while.
Think it could be done on a weber? Ever tried? Think this might be a winner for the National Braai day competition
People use special plates that are able to stand intense heat to cook things like pizza in Webers. You would need something like that... but as long as you made the fire properly (indirect heat) and kept the temperature constant my adding coals as you went along you could, as you say, have a shoo-in for National Braai Day honours. I like where your head is at.
grand, thanks for the advice, will give it a try this sunday (got to get it perfect thursday) and let you know how it does!
You are a fancy cat :-)
Had a trial-run with the breaded-bird on the braai...a smashing success! Chicken was so tender it fell off the bones...and oh so so so very tasty!
For Thursday's competition we're considering a tasty stuffing and wrapping the bird in bacon. Will add a bit of salt to the bread dough (yes, we ate it - it was too good not too with all those herbs on it and the smokey braai flavour) and doing some research into other options to make it tastier.
But we're thrilled with the recipe, and sure we'll steal first place! Thanks for sharing it
Karen, one word for you: champion. Let us know how the contest goes although I must say it sounds like you're going to be tough to beat. If you're looking at a stuffing you should try mixing bread crumbs and parsley with the meat from chicken sausage (remove the skin). That should get you the blue ribbon for sure!
What a smashing success! out of 24 Braai enterants part of my sibling's "Day 1-Wedding-Weekend-Extravaganza: National Braai Day Contest" ...our enterant come 2nd!
With little space in the car, we ended up taking up a Cobb (delightful devices which uses next to nothing in terms of charcoal). We prepared the bird and herbs as above...but then stoved it with a pork, herb and lemon stuffing and covered the bird in bacon before wrapping it up in the dough.
We cooked it for 2hrs 30mins, which wasn't enough time unfortunately and when we served it to the judges the meat on the topside of the bird was still slightly raw (never grand). However, the cracking of the crust, the aromas that come gushing out and the spectacular site of the bacon covered bird - left the judges none the wiser..and we sneakily presented them with chicken tasters from the sides, the awesome stuffing and flipping-delicious bacon.
It impressed the socks off everyone!So much so, winner (who'se 4 course meal was hard to compete with) credited us with first place in their acceptance speech. (the Braai competition was taken very seriosuly ;)
thanks again for the recipee
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