Monday, 20 February 2012

Coriander roast chicken and more...

Let's start here: this chicken is immensely delicious... seriously...

I was so intrigued several weeks ago when chef Heston Blumenthal shares his techniques to cooking his ultimate roast chicken on the telly. So, yesterday I followed his techniques with my own flavourings at home and the result is absolutely wonderful. The chicken was so, so tender and moist. YUM with capital Y,U and M.

The preparation for my Sunday roast begins the night before: brining the chicken in salty water. I'm not very good at explaining the science, but brining really does keep the moisture in food. It's nothing difficult at all... in fact, hardly any work and 'it will guarantee a juicy and succulent bird every time'.

Heston doesn't truss his chicken and personally I never really bothered as well. I especially dislike when a chicken is so heavily trussed all around that it looks like it's in bondage. Just me?!

Before cooking the chickens (I cooked 2 because my friends and I are greedy) in the oven, I made flavoured butter by mixing soft butter with garlic olive oil, salt, pepper, finely chopped fresh coriander leaves and ground coriander. This green butter is then stuffed between the skin and the breast of the chicken. With more soft butter, rub the skin all over with it. Season the cavity with salt, pepper and thyme, and put in a lemon that's been pierced all over.

Now the chicken is ready for the oven. However, instead of cooking the chicken at high temperature as many recipes for roast chicken call for; Heston cooks his chicken at low 90 C. Yes, the chicken needs three hours in the oven, followed by 30 to 45 minutes resting time and then browning and basting at high temperature. This chicken is definitely worth the wait and effort... Please give this a go.

Perhaps not the traditional trimmings for a Sunday dinner, I served the chicken with pasta salad that's inspired by Ina's orzo with roasted vegetables. The original recipe calls for aubergines, red and yellow peppers and red onions; and to that I added courgettes and artichokes. Another example of "you can't have too much of good things". The rice shaped pasta and roasted vegetables are then tossed in a simple lemon dressing.

On another note, I have joined Twitter (@MichaelToa) and I tweeted for the first time less than 24 hours ago. I'm only few years late to this social media phenomenon... *sigh... I'm not very technical. Anyway.. So, if you have a twitter account, please let me know.

Last, but not least, if you're in the UK, happy Pancake Tuesday in advance! I still have not decided if I'm going to have a sweet or savoury one... I'll decide in the morning.


  1. This chicken looks beautiful. I made some pancakes, both sweet and savory, come check it out.

  2. well it looks beautiful and I love the spicy skin I bet that was amazing!... Im really enjoying all these wonderful slow roast chicken dishes, you MUST try the 10 hour version soon too Michael!... and YES I always cook 2 chickens if I can!!

  3. My computer seems finally willing to let me talk to you. I was nervous about this chicken until I remembered that slow-cookers operate at fairly low temps. I'm all for this - and all for the beautiful photos.

  4. A beautiful bird, Michael! I'm going to have to try this method.. low heat in the oven, I'm intrigued for sure.
    Happy Pancake Tuesday to you!! Go for the sweet :)

  5. Marina - Thank you. Just been to your blog. Thanks for the inspirations...

    Dom - Don't worry my friend. The 10 hour chicken is next on the list! I honestly cannot wait. I know it's gonna be superb.

    Stephen - Thank you. Got your email too. Sorry I haven't replied. Brining is awesome.

    Jenn - Thanks Jenn. Do try it if you have the time. Utterly delicious.

  6. Michael-did you get a new camera?...or is it a different lighting? Your chicken looks spectacular, and so does the orzo pasta salad with the roasted vegetables. Wow! I wish I could join you in the festivities...even if there isn't one, I would love to make the roasted chicken with this method, that is all new to me to start out slow...just the opposite of how I make it...start out at a high temperature, to sear it!

    I totally trust your method, after seeing these beautiful photos:DDD

    1. Hi Elisabeth... no, I didn't get a new camera. I just use my iPhone. I must say, it's much better than my camera :)
      You should join one day! Give the method a go, I think you'll love this.

  7. I love a roast chicken and this one looks quite delish.

  8. You make a perfect roasted chicken! Look at that golden brown colour! Perfect!

  9. Love the flavour combo. Will have to try this next time I cook a chicken.

  10. Wow Michael, your roasted chicken with coriander, which I know as cilantro looks delicious...and it is perfect paired with lemony orzo. I have not roasted chicken in ages, now you just inspired me to do it...and soon.
    Thanks for this yummie recipe and hope you are having a fantastic week :)

  11. The chicken looks absolutely marvellous! And I really like what you served it with too! :D Orzo and roast chicken are two of my favourite things in the world :)

  12. I watched that Heston episode too - wasn't convinced, but will definitely try all the brine-ing etc after seeing this. YUM.