Roasted chicken is such a lovely, classic meal. Suitable for any occasion and beloved by everyone, even the most demanding eaters. I have been complaining already for a number of weeks, that I feel like eating roasted chicken. I have been tempted to consider buying one from the local market, but I must admit, there is something so ravenous in the smells of roasted chicken coming from the oven, that just for pure pleasure I have decided to cook one at home. My dearest one has been helping with the shopping and to my delight he has brought at home not a basic but organic chicken. The difference is staggering, both in quality and in price – 3 Euro for a basic and 10 Euro for organic chicken. Unwrapping the package I could see the layers of yellow fat in the chicken, ready to melt in oven into a glorious perfection.
Speaking of perfection, everyone deserves a “tried & tested” recipe collection for all sorts of variety of meals. My roasted chicken recipe today comes from none other then the honourable Sir Marcus Wareing. “Cook the perfect” is a book I have discovered by pure chance. Slightly faded, published in the distant 2007, it’s repertoire of recipes can make any self-respecting home-cook beam with pride.
Here and there, I am adapting the recipe a bit – adding parsnip in the roasted vegetable tray, glazing the chicken in self-made herb olive oil… And before I know it, here they come – the most amazing smells in the kitchen. There is nothing more homey than a spectacular dinner or roasted chicken and vegetables served with potato puree and apple compote. As for the sparkle in the eyes, the sweet generous smiles and the raining compliments, they never seem to know how to cease.
- 1 chicken, preferably organic or free-range, weighing about 1.5kg
- 2 red onions, quartered lengthwise
- 2 white onions, quartered lengthwise
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 bulb garlic, cut crosswise in half
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp red paprika powder
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tbs onion powder
- 1/2 tbs dried thyme
- black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
2. Remove any string and giblets from the chicken, then wipe the cavity clean with paper towels and season inside with a large pinch of salt and a few twists of pepper. Put the onions, carrots, garlic, parsnip in a roasting pan, season with salt and pepper, and stir in half the olive oil.
3. Sit the chicken breast-side up on top of the vegetables. Add the dry herbs (dried thyme, dried onion, dried parsley and the red paprika) to the remaining olive oil and mix well. Drizzle with the spiced olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour 20 minutes, turning the bird regularly and basting with the cooking juices.
4. For juicy, melt-in-the-mouth chicken, you need to turn the bird over several times and baste it well during roasting. This helps the heat penetrate evenly and makes the meat moist. After the chicken has been roasting for half an hour, and the skin on the breast is nicely colored and crisp, turn the bird onto one of its sides and baste well. Roast for 10 minutes, then turn the bird onto its other side. Baste and return to the oven to roast for another 10 minutes.
5. Now turn the chicken over onto its breast, so the back is facing up, and baste well. Return to the oven to roast for another 10 minutes. Finally, sit the bird breast-side up and roast for the remainder of the time.
6. To check if the chicken is done, insert a skewer or the tip of a sharp, narrow-bladed knife deep into the thick end of a thigh. The bird is cooked if the juices run clear; if there are any traces of blood you will need to carry on cooking until they are gone.
7. When the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a carving board and cover loosely with foil. Let stand in a warm place for 10–15 minutes. Remove the garlic from the vegetables, then transfer the vegetables to a bowl with a slotted spoon and stir the sage leaves through them. Keep warm.
8. Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables, potatoes pure and apple compote.