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.