A tale of two best friends on opposite sides of the world and their quest to cook everything from
Stephanie Alexander's 'The Cook's Companion'

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sunday Roast

Roast Chicken

No, this isn't a post about Nicole Kidman's daughter, but about the ubiquitous roast. Since moving to London, hubby has craved roasts, and they are hard to escape. Every pub does it's version of a Sunday Roast for lunch. Our local does a fantastic Roast Lamb, but it's a little on the pricey side, so I thought it would be best to make our own. Hubby decided on chicken, and while our free-range, organic chicken wasn't cheap, it fed us for 2 nights and was still less than the cost of one pub roast.

Roast Chicken (Printable Recipe)
adapted from Stephanie's Roast Chicken - The All-time Favourite, pg 298
Serves 4

1.8kg chicken
1 lemon, halved
4 cloves garlic
a few sprigs of rosemary
small knob of butter
salt and pepper
vegetables to suit*, cut to size
olive oil
2 tbsp plain flour
1/2C white wine
1/2C chicken stock

An hour and a half before dinner, preheat the oven to 220C. Rub chicken inside and out with lemon. Squash garlic cloves with the flat of a knife and put into chicken cavity with lemon, half of the rosemary and the butter.

Roast Chicken

Rub vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle over the rest of the rosemary, picked off the stalk. Season. Rub the chicken with a little bit of olive oil and season. Put vegetables into a roasting tray, setting them around the edges and put the chicken on its side, in the middle of the tray.

Roast Chicken

Place baking dish in centre of oven and roast for 25 mins. Take out of the oven and turn chicken onto the other side. Give the vegies a little push around. Put back in oven and roast for 25 mins. Take out of oven again, and put chicken breast side up. Give the vegies another push and baste chicken with the juices. If there isn't enough juice, drizzle a little bit of wine or olive oil over the breasts. Roast for a final 25 mins. To test if cooked, pierce a skewer into the thigh, the juice should run clear, not pink.

Turn oven down to 150C. Transfer chicken and vegies to an ovenproof dish and rest in oven while you make the gravy. Remove any excess fat from the pan and add the flour. Stir to a smooth paste and cook til nice and golden. Deglaze the pan with 1/2C white wine, stirring the flour vigorously into the wine, until nice and smooth. Add in 1/2C chicken stock or water and cook in the pan until it boils into a nice, thick gravy. Test for seasoning.

Joint the chicken and serve on a platter with the vegies. Serve gravy in a jug alongside.

*for the two of us, I used 2 fairly large potatoes, one carrot and one onion. This was also served with a side of peas.

I was a bit worried when I was jointing the chicken as some of the juice caught between the thigh was a little pink. None of the flesh however was pink. As there was only 2 of us, we only ate half the chicken, having a piece of breast and a drumstick each. Hubby kindly shredded the rest of the chicken ready for some soup. The chicken was lovely and juicy and I really enjoyed the flavour of the gravy. The vegies roasted up superbly and the smell of it all cooking was very tempted as we waited for the oven buzzer to go off.

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup using leftover Chicken (Printable Recipe)
Serves 2 hearty serves

1/2 cooked chicken, shredded
Cooked chicken carcass
Seasonal vegies
Crusty rolls to serve

Put leftover chicken bones into a saucepan and cover with cold water. I also put the garlic cloves from the cavity into the pan. Add some salt to season. Bring to the boil and simmer over very low heat for 30 mins. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Strain out the bones and chill until ready to use.

Take any fat off the top, and put into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and add vegetables* as needed to cook sufficiently. Toss in shredded chicken about 2 mins before serving to heat through. Serve with crusty bread rolls, nicely buttered to dip into the broth.

*I used one zucchini, a small bunch of asparagus, one carrot and a handful of parsley. The carrot was added first and the rest of the vegies were put in for only a couple of minutes to lightly blanch.

The soup is usually nuclear hot, so the rolls are nice as they let you start eating while the soup cools a little.

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