Roast chicken could easily be on my ‘top 10 list of deliciousness’!
Selecting a chicken
Supermarket free range chickens are mostly too lean for my liking. The breasts and thighs need to be much more ‘Rubenesque’ in stature!
The raw skin colour needs to have a yellowish tinge, indicating that the bird probably had a wholesome diet containing fresh vegies and yellow maize, and hopefully the flavour will be good.
To find a good quality free range chicken is sometimes a challenge, so when I see the real big plump free range chooks in the fridge at Sweetwell Farm Butchery & Deli I am always tempted.
Preparing for roasting
I like to spatchcock the chicken. This results in lovely crisp brown skin all over, speeds up cooking time and makes carving a doddle.
If the chicken contains the little parcel of livers, gizzards and the neck, remove it. (I pop it in the freezer for my housekeeper….. ‘sacrilege’ you may cry, but I am not good at handling those bits and she uses it to make a lovely stock for soup!). Also remove any excess lumps of visible fat.
Do not ‘wash’ the raw chicken. If you bought it from a reliable source it will be perfectly clean. The ‘splashes’ of raw chicken juices in and around your sink can be a serious food contamination risk!
Place the chicken, breast side down. Now, using a pair of poultry shears or a decent kitchen scissors cut down the spine on either side of the tail portion (pope’s nose) right up to the neck cavity. (You can add the ‘spine’ that you have just removed to the housekeeper’s soup pack!) Flatten the chicken out and using the ‘heel’ of your open hand firmly press down on the breast portion to flatten it more. Now it is ready to season and prepare for roasting.
The roasting pan
I like to line the base of my roasting pan or oven proof dish with ‘aromatics’. This time I used red onion, ginger, garlic, star anise and slices of mandarin orange. The chicken in placed on top of this, skin side up.
Season the chicken
The chicken is seasoned with a mixture of chicken stock, mandarin juice and soy sauce, salt and pepper.
I use either the conventional oven, which takes about an hour or I programme my Sharp convectional oven on ‘auto-roast – poultry’, where is takes 30 minutes for a perfectly roasted chicken!
The pan juices
Spoon out the onion, ginger and mandarin and serve this with the chicken, I place the pan juices in a bowl as light gravy. If you want to, you can place it in a saucepan and thicken it, but we like the flavour and consistency of the plain juices.
Serve with veggies of your choice.