Wednesday, July 4, 2012

In pursuit of perfect roast chicken

After a nasty (read dire) bout of chicken related food poisoning when travelling in Vietnam I had a thing about the bird. It was never my go to option in a way that most people enjoy it. But recently I became a little obsessed with finding the perfect method for a humble roast chicken. A roast chicken is,
upon first inspection, dinner 101. But a great roast chicken, one worthy of Parisian bistros and the like, is much much harder to achieve. The issue is not one of flavour, hands down you get what you pay for, but more one of balance. Roast chicken is the gastronomic equivalent of yin and yang. Juicy meat balanced by an oh so crispy skin. For my column over at Daily Life this week I made a za'atar roast chicken. I even did a bit of a chicken how to - road testing a few different roasting methods, the video is online now here  Be kind, its a little strange to be cooking in front of a camera, more than a bit daunting! But fun and my sous chef Molly (my dog) is loving her five minutes in front of the camera.

This roasting business started my chicken renaissance and led to some quick and easy miso hoisin roasted drumsticks. They take five seconds to throw together and taste delicious. 

Za'atar & Lemon Roast Chicken

1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 ½ tbsp. za’atar spice (or more to taste)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 organic, happy, free-range chicken
150g butter, cubed
3 lemons, halved
1 head garlic, halved
Preheat the oven to 220C
Combine the oil with the za’atar and lemon zest in a bowl.
Pat dry the chicken inside and out. Gently loosen the skin and push the cubes of butter between the chicken breasts and skin. Rub the za’atar mix into the skin then place in a roasting pan atop the lemon halves and garlic. Roast for 40 minutes or until crisp skinned and cooked through. Serve with Paris mash and steamed green beans.
Hoisin and Miso Drumsticks

800g chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
¼ cup miso paste
3 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ cup sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Place the chicken drumsticks in a large bowl. Add all ingredients except for the sesame seeds into a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the marinade over the drumsticks, turning to coat. Place the drumsticks in a roasting tray lined with baking paper and roast for 40 minutes. Sprinkle over sesame seeds (black or white) and roast for another 10 minutes.
Serve warm.

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