Sunday 18 December 2011

Traditional Roast Chicken with Roast Spuds

The Sunday Roast is a huge tradition back home, I think it stems from getting up early to go to Mass and then having the day in front of you. In recent times we normally set aside Sundays for dialing in a food delivery and I haven't been to mass either in an age come to speak of it, so I aint cooked a roast in a while. I normally reserve it for special occasions as it always goes down an absolute treat.

But this Sunday I had a request to make some breadcrumbs again so I decided to make a Roast Chicken with extra and I mean extra breadcrumbs so we could have chicken and stuffing sandwiches for Mondays lunch which are hands down my favourite sandwich.

A few things I have picked up over the many times I have cooked this meal:

Oven Temperature: Keep your oven at 190C and for the most of the duration keep the chicken on the bottom third of the oven. Move it up to the top third of the oven for the last 20 minutes when you remove the tin foil that is protecting the chicken breast.

Keep meat juicy: Wrap your cooked chicken completely in tin foil for 10-15 minutes when you remove it from the oven – this will allow all the juices to settle while keeping the chicken warm.
Parboil your potatoes before roasting – this will ensure the centre of the potato is cooked to perfection. 
Double it: Whatever you think you will need potato-wise just double it as if you cook the roast potatoes properly they are a meal in themselves.
Keep things simple: Use a very simple herb breadcrumb of fresh basil & dried oregano.   

Keep all the juices from the chicken to use when cooking up your gravy.

I will break down the recipe into 3 parts:
1. Breadcrumbs
2. The Potatoes
3. The Bird

Complete Ingredients (Shopping List)
1  whole Chicken
Half a lemon
150g butter

Large handful of fresh Basil
Dried Oregano - 1 table spoon
Onion salt (optional in the breadcrumbs)
2 garlic cloves
6-8 slices of bread (not fresh bread)
Large onion
400g potatoes

Salt & Pepper
Olive oil

Cooking Utensils
Food Processor
Wok for breadcrumbs
Saucepan for potatoes
Large Oven dish
Chopping Board
Sharp Knife
Small bowl for Herb butter
Potato peeler

1. Breadcrumbs
 - Finely chop your onion & garlic
- Blitz your bread in a food processor to make your breadcrumbs 
- Chop your fresh basil
- Place a Wok on a medium heat and saute your onions & garlic in 50g of butter until the onions become completely translucent
- Before adding your breadcrumbs, remove from heat and add the final bit of butter (25-50g) & let melt (the butter will coat all the breadcrumbs so it is important you have extra otherwise the breadcrumbs are too dry)

 - Add your breadcrumbs and stir until completely covered in the buttery onion mixture. 
- Now add your fresh basil, dried oregano, onion salt, salt & pepper. Taste the breadcrumbs, they already taste good enough to eat
- Your breadcrumbs are now done

2. The Potatoes

- Peel all potatoes and cut into even sizes (this will ensure everything cooks at the same level)

- Place in a pot of salted boiling and par boil for 7-10 minutes
- When finished remove from water and place a tea-towel over the saucepan. The steam from the potatoes will ensure they go flourery - this will ensure your crust goes golden brown and crispy
- What I like to do now is mix up some seasoning with some olive oil and coat all the potatoes in this olive oil before adding with the chicken.
3. The Bird 

- Preheat your oven to 190C

- This part aint for the squeamish so prepare yourself for sticking your hand where the sun don't shine!

- Wash out the complete inside of the chicken and leave stand so it can dry completely

- Chop your half a lemon into 1/4s and rub the complete insides with your lemon and also all around the chicken 
- Make a basil & garlic butter (50g). Place this herb butter under the skin that is over the breast of the chicken.....this will ensure your breast has a beautiful flavour 
- Stuff the chicken cavity with your breadcrumbs - push right down so you can get in as much as you can. Your chicken is now ready to go into the oven
- For the first 15 minutes the chicken should go in breast down to let the back cook first. Keep the chicken in the bottom third of the oven.
 - After these 15 minutes turn onto its back and cook breast side up for a further 45-50 minutes in total.  Now add your parboiled cooked potatoes.
- Place tin foil over the breast and breadcrumbs for the first 30 minutes. This will ensure your breast stays moist and juicy. Toss your potatoes whenever you check the chicken

 - For the final 15 minutes remove the tin foil and place in the top third of your oven to ensure the breast goes golden brown
 - When golden brown remove from heat and wrap completely in tin foil for 10-15 minutes. Turn oven down to 150C and toss your potatoes until ready to serve. 

- The beauty here is that these 15 minutes allow you to cook the other vegetables and gravy that will go with your meal.

- Remove Chicken from the foil and cut Chicken to desired size and cut type and serve on a warm plate with your roast potatoes, breadcrumbs, gravy and choice of vegetables


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