Sunday, 17 February 2008

Sunday Roast Chicken

Due to some last minute change of plans I didn't end up making massaman curry this weekend, but, I did make a lovely Sunday roast - my second ever attempt to roast a whole chicken, since I had invited friends over (long story short, they, unfortunately couldn't make it, but John's mum said she'd come over, which was great since we tend to go to her place all the time). Unabashed plug: Sue is a flavour consultant, if you need any flavours developed, invented or tested, email me for details - she makes a cracking crème brûlée flavour, I keep sniffing the vial every time I go over there.

On to the show then, since I'm great at forgetting to take photos, below is a photo of the almost prepared chicken, basically, chopped up a few cloves of garlic and sprinkled them on the pan base with a little olive oil, stuffed more cloves up the chicken's butt, layered the top with bacon strips and generously sprinkled it with steak seasoning, another little way to cheat in flavouring food, since it seems to have the right amount of saltiness and spiciness for a variety of dishes.

This is when I remembered I forgot to add the shallots to this base = me hurriedly chopping up the shallots with tears streaming down my face. Yes, I've tried all the "tricks" to stop myself crying when I chop up anything to do with onions. They don't work with me. I'm convinced the whole keeping your mouth open and breathing heavily through it instead of you nose is just another way invented for me to look silly, or running the onions/shallots under hot water is a sure thing to getting scalded. Luckily on occasion I have my beautiful assistant to help me - "Jooohhhnnnn, can you chop this up for me while I hide in the bathroom from the toxic fumes?!!" I got about this far, before tearing up. Pathetic huh?

OK, after that episode was over, I scattered the chopped shallots around the chicken and whacked it into a preheated (190
°C fan) oven, well, not whacked, more like issuing a few choice four-letter words from me trying to juggle a huge pan while discovering it doesn't fit on the shelf, trying to rearrange the shelves in the oven without dropping one and a half kilos of raw poultry. That should be a point, rearrange your oven shelves before you heat the oven up.

Next up was the stuffing, since time was going to be precious, good ol' Paxo came to the rescue - it's no where good as home made, but great to soak up gravy on a plate. Aw, look, little balls of stuffing, how cute! (no more innuendo jokes please! I heard enough from a 27 year old bloke going on 13!)

Since the chicken takes nearly an hour and a half to roast for it's size (general rule of thumb is 20 minutes per 500 grams, plus an extra 20 minutes, basting every now and then), I used this time to prepare the usual assortment of vegetables: boiling thick chunks of potato in salted water to be roasted in hazelnut oil - the flavour combination is excellent. Chopping up the carrots and some more garlic to be roasted along side the potatoes and the stuffing balls and boiling up petite pois towards the end of cooking time. Speaking of which, in the last half an hour, take the bacon off the chicken in order for the skin to roast to a golden hue, or it will look very anemic. The bacon can be reheated in the oven in the last 5 minutes for further crisping.

Unfortunately I haven't got a picture of a final plating since everyone was so eager to start eating I forgot to take one, but here is what the leftovers looks like:

And this was the aftermath of Captain Clucker:

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