Hi everyone, this is my Honestdadvice Cooking blog # 2 – Roast Chicken done right 🙂
So what are the basics?
You want plenty of time/planning and preparation, you also want fresh high quality ingredients.
Many things are flexible but this version I’m calling HDV Butter, Bacon, Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken with fresh garden salad.
Pros: Really juicy tasty and tender whole bird; low carb, high protein, very filling/satisfying
Cons: slightly high in fat and salt, easy to overeat if not strictly portioned
1 x fresh whole uncooked chicken (I recommend approx. 300g per person as that includes inedible parts of skin, fatty tissue, bone, connective tissues, leftover digestive tract and nerves that are very unappetising.
1 x lemon cut in half
4 x garlic cloves slightly crushed and peeled but left mostly intact, sliced in half (optional)
Ample salt, pepper, smoked paprika to taste
At least 250 g of softened regular or unsalted (I use unsalted) butter
Approx. 100 g of washed and roughly chopped parsley (either variety though I prefer ‘continental’)
Approx. 100 g prepared diced bacon cubes/squares
Approx. 50 g breadcrumbs
20 g dried thyme herb (optn)
1 x lettuce
1 x tomato or approx. 20 x cherry tomato or similar
1 x avocado
1 x red onion (my wife only used half in ours last night)
1 x cucumber (Lebanese or continental work best)
1 x green or red capsicum (optn)
50 g finely diced fresh mint (optn) + additional parsley to taste
20 ml fresh genuine balsamic vinegar of Modena
20 ml high quality EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
a pinch of castor sugar
freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste approx. 20 g or less is suitable
20 – 30 g of gravy powder for roast meat (Gravox or generic brands are interchangeable)
Step 1 occurs min 24 hrs earlier than meal time!
Prepare the whole chicken using minimal water and do not wash the uncooked bird to reduce risk of spreading pathogenic bacteria.
I have found that if able to use a dual sink arrangement with 1 x sink of hot soapy water and 1 x sink of warm clean water prepared in advance you can dunk hands and rinse a few times as needed. Use a tea towel or disposable kitchen paper and then launder in hot water and you are practicing effective bacterial control.
To effectively prepare the bird, remove all packaging and place on a cutting board or straight on plate to be stored in fridge overnight/24 hrs uncovered if possible, if not (I have a young child who loves opening the fridge randomly) leave uncovered overnight then cover with a salad bowl or similar the next day while children are up/about.
The idea is to ensure NOTHING remains in the cavity accessed from the anus (tail end) then to place ONLY the two sliced lemon halves in, with their cut sides up toward the breast meat – I also zest the lemons into the breadcrumbs 1st.) this can occur the night of prep or the next day before popping in oven, but as you’re making the crumb now, it makes sense to do all at once.
You need to carefully separate skin from breast meat (avoiding the centre breast bone as well, to form two pockets on top of bird’s chest. Back of bird can be done likewise but incision to left and right of tailbone with knife or kitchen scissors is advisable to minimise tearing. (optn)
You prep the butter (soft and pliable) in a bowl with breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, pepper and bacon pieces.
Mix thoroughly then getting your hands dirty, you literally stuff the pockets between skin and breast & if chosen, the underside of back of bird too. You then rub additional butter w/thyme if using. all over the external skin including joints and folds etc. Generously cover the bird’s exterior in additional salt, pepper and paprika, rubbing it into butter mixture evenly.
If choosing to use fresh garlic (which I heartily recommend as this has an enzyme which is very flavourful and imparts extra softness to breast meat tissue. ENSURE it is crushed slightly, sliced laterally to have largest surface area and is slid into breast meat pockets in contact with breast tissue not skin on cut surface side (not placed in cavity – that’s a waste as flavour gets stuck on bone).
Then wash hands thoroughly, place in fridge, low down in coldest region with good air circulation, try to avoid stacking other items nearby and especially, practice good hygiene by not having anything else uncovered in fridge (veg/fruit in drawers below excepted). Air circulation in fridge can and will spread pathogens so washing fruit/veg before use and using sealed containers is highly advisable, as is covering produce/leftovers in glad/cling/saran wrap.
The next day approx 1.5 hrs before serving, take uncovered bird from fridge to rest and preheat oven incl. an UNOILED baking tray of the heaviest/densest deepest kind you have together to min 220°C (Fan Forced convection oven) (I do that degree symbol using ascii on windows 10 hold alt key then press 0, 1, 7, 6 (on the dedicated number pad or equivalent) then release alt).
While preheating and raising core chicken temp closer to room temp, you can prep ingredients for salad dressing, but make the salad at last stage to avoid it wilting.
If you didn’t do lemon before, do it now.
Should look like the below:
To put bird in oven, be careful, use gloves/mitts etc. ensure minimal door open time by having everything close at hand. I use EVOO on top of chicken none on base, trusting to butter and non-stick surfaces, adjust accordingly if you don’t have.
I use 2 x kitchen tongs to hold bird through anal cavity as well as on wings to avoid hand contact if poss.
Roast uncovered in oven at 220°C for 20 – 25 min per side, flipping once midways through cook (beginning with tailbone and back of chicken up), finishing with breast pockets facing up to dry and crisp the skin.
Combine chopped and prepped salad ingredients in last 15 mins of cook ideally.
At end of cook, CHECK MEAT TEMP with thermometer to approx. 65°C internal temp in several locations in breast meat and leg/drumstick and in upper bicep equivalent in wing area. Uncooked meat is dangerous, but over cooking is undesirable too, you need to adapt to size of bird and ambient temp/humidity in home environment!
Rest bird out of cooking pan – impt, for as close as possible to 15 mins covered in aluminium foil.
Cut into pieces (approx. 6 – 8 pieces of 2 x drumstick, 2 x wing, 2 – 4 x breast sides or quarters and shred back meat (there’s a surprising amount still in carcass at this stage if you can be bothered breaking apart).
Collect as much of pan juices as poss and pour into Pyrex or similar glass measuring jug, approx. 500 ml. vol, then add gravy powder and juice of both lemon slices ((optn but highly recommended – avoid getting lemon seeds in however by straining), optn to strain pan juices too but I like it chunky w/herb and bacon pieces). Heat gradually in 30 s intervals with stirring in microwave (1100 W) to taste (no more than 1.5 min is recommended and not in one go or you can superheat/burn or otherwise ruin a great addition!)
This is what you want: