Monday, June 20, 2005

Professional Foul or Roasting a Chicken in a Manly Fashion...

Now, on the whole roasting a chicken should be a rather manly pursuit. It involves fire, meat and some degree of danger, these being the very same things that attract men to bbq's. Yet, most of our fundamental experiences with roasts involve our mothers... in a bid to not get too Freudian about this, I will simply say that the art of roasting up a bird seems to the preserve of your mum in the Kitchen on a Sunday whilst you sleep off a hangover and your dad reads the paper (actually in our house, whilst my dad roasted, my mother would beat us with wooden spoons but that’s Mediterranean families for you).
Roast Chicken is manly food, picture Henry VIII tearing legs of ‘em, taking a big bearded ginger bite and throwing the rest to his hunting dogs before drinking a flagon of mead and executing another wife. Or Robin Hood tucking into one with Little Jon after a hard day robbing rich folk, actually, forget that, too heavy on the tights front to be truly included here.
So the challenge here is to roast a chicken in a good honest manly fashion.
Really I have only two things to say about this. Keep it Simple. Spend the Money.
There is nothing more depressing to me than cheap meat. It is everything that meat shouldn't be as far as I can see. Flaccid, tasteless, stringy. I know, we all like to eat meat everyday and it's so cheap...NO! STOP! Eat meat that’s produced by people who give a shit and if you can't afford it, don't eat it everyday and give your poor colon a frikkin rest. Eat a vegetable. Buy a fish.
So I consulted a few of the better known cook books on this one just to make sure and basically condensed the advice to the following.
Take your chicken and make sure you've taken the giblets out. Plastic does not improve the flavour of anything except maybe stuff from a fast-food outlet.

I softened some butter and spread it on nice and thick over most of the bird concentrating on the breast meat. Season with coarse salt and pepper, it'll stick to the butter and made savoury crispy skin with a honey looking colour. A drizzle of olive oil at this point seemed appropriate. Some bay leaves were then tucked in around the legs and one popped inside. I halved a lemon and a whole head of garlic, half went inside the bird, the rest into the roasting tin. That was pretty much it for preparation time.

The oven had been ticking along up to about 220 degrees (no idea about gas marks I'll find a converter at some point - heathen that I am). I wanted to blast the chicken for about 20 minutes before lowering the heat to about 180/190. This tightens up the skin apparently and makes it crispy, good, coz thats what I want. I'd then roast it for about 45 mins.

The Results.

The skin went crispy and had a good savoury punch to it. The meat was moist and a nice creamy ivory colour and with big fat flavours from the garlic, lemon and bay combo. Sweet. I served that bad boy up with some salad and all was well with the world on a Wednesday night.

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