Dinner last night for Bruno's parents. I made best-ever roast chicken over baby rucola + wilted radicchio with balsamic + potato gratin + nusslisalat (lamb's lettuce) + raspberry marscapone cheesecake + espressos. We ate everything, it was so delicious, so savoury (except dessert, of course) that we ate everything.
I seem to have been extremely remiss in never posting my best ever roast chicken recipe on this here ol' blog. I can't quite believe that I haven't in the 5 or so years that I have maintained this blog. Sure I have mentioned it here and there, but I've never actually posted the 'recipe' (there is no recipe, really). The method I use comes from Simon Hopkinson's excellent cookbook 'Roast Chicken and Other Stories'. Don't bother with other recipes. this one is the best!
Recipes after the jump.
Best-ever roast chicken
knob of butter, room temperature
garlic cloves - 3 or 4
rosemary sprigs, 3 or 4
salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 240 degrees C.
- Put your chook in an oven roasting dish. Rub the butter all over it, making especially sure the breasts get a good smearing.
- Cut the skin off the lemon and squeeze the juice all over the chook. Stuff the squished lemon into the cavity of the chicken, along with the garlic and rosemary (you can also put the lemon peel in if you like).
- Sprinkle some flakes of sea salt over the chicken as well as a good grinding of pepper.
- Pop into the oven and let it roast at high heat for 15 minutes - this makes it good and crispy on the top.
- Turn the oven down to 200 degrees C and cook for a further 45-50 mins - it should be golden brown when finished, and when pulled gently, the leg should come easily away from the body. if the flesh between the leg and body is pink when you separate it, put it back in for a few minutes.
- When the chicken is ready, take it out and cover it with foil for 10-15 minutes. This keeps it succulent and tender. It will sit here quite happily until you are ready to eat.
- Whatever you do, don't discard the juices at the bottom of the roasting dish! They are the perfect mix of lemony savoury chicken goodness, and make the perfect gravy. I usually strain out all the bits and then bring the juice to the boil in a small saucepan, adding maybe a dash of wine or water. Probably you should then boil the liquid until it has thickened slightly, but I find that the Kitschenette family is rather greedy when it comes to gravy - if I boiled it down then there wouldn't be enough to go around! So I dissolve a spoonful of cornflour in a little wine/water and add it to the gravy to thicken. Bring to the boil again and stir until it is the desired thickness.
- I like to carve the chicken and place the meat on a bed of baby rocket on a large platter. The chicken juices trickle down into the leaves and make for a really delicious, palate-cleansing final mouthful.
This really is a super easy and fab meal that we all love (one of the few). It takes just the barest hint of chill or dreariness and I am immediately in a roast chicken mood. Often I make two chooks at the same time so we have lots of leftovers, which lend themselves well to sandwiches, bubble and squeak (Max's favourite) or chicken fried rice. And of course, don't forget to use the carcass for chicken stock that can't be beaten (chicken soup, anyone?)
Raspberry marscapone cheesecake
Amazingly delicious, but not too sweet or heavy.
Half a packet of oaty disgestive biscuits
Half a packet of caramelly-type biscuits - the ones I use here are called 'Karamellgeback'. if you can't find any, use gingernuts or something similar.
100g butter, melted
350g quark (or thick natural yoghurt if you don't have quark)
icing sugar to taste
punnet of raspberries (mine were frozen)
- Blitz the biscuits to crumbs in a food processor. Make sure to stop before they become powder, but you don't want too many big lumps.
- Add the melted butter and mix thoroughly. The buttery crumbs should hold together when you press them with the back of a spoon - if they are too dry the base won;t hold up. Add more melted butter if necessary.
- Tip the buttery crumbs onto a plate onto which the top part of a springform cake tin has been placed. Smooth the crumbs out along the bottom and use a straight-sided glass to press the crumbs down and up to make the sides. make sure the crumbs are well compacted. Put in the fridge (or outside, in our case - it is s cold outside that we use our balcony as a big fridge :) ) to set.
- Meanwhile, mix together the marscapone and quark. Go carefully with this - add the quark to the marscapone little by little, as you don't want the mixture to be too runny - once it is liquid it is hard to make it stiffer unless you happen to have spare marscapone standing by. Because this mixture isn't set with gelatine/agar agar or baked, it relies on the thickness of the marscapone/quark to hold up. It should be soft creamy billows that hold their peaks.
- Once you have achieved the right consistency, add sifted icing sugar to taste. Don't make it too sweet.
- Crush half of the raspberries with a fork and fold through the filling. Then gently fold in the whole berries, putting a few on the top to decorate.
- Pile the soft creamy filling into the biscuit case and put back into the fridge to set properly.
- When you are ready to eat it, carefully loosen the springform mould and lift it off. You might need to run a thin knife around the edge first (run the knife under hot water first). Be careful not to wrench it off too quickly or you might just collapse your cheesecake walls.
- This is a fairly fragile creation, so take care when cutting and serving it. But it's all the more precious because of it, I think :)
You;ll enjoy every mouthful, I promise.