Monday, 10 November 2014

The Recipes I Promised You: Roast Chicken, Mash and Gravy


Roast chicken is such a classic, family affair kinda dish. And I for one have been roasting too many of them for the past 5 years, maybe more. The way I make mine has certainly changed over the years, so I thought I will include a few of my personal tips and tricks to making a perfect, well seasoned, delicious and juicy roast chicken. 

For me, less is always more when it comes to preparing your bird before it goes into the oven. Too much dousing of seasonings will be a little too overwhelming in the taste department. You just need a well balanced hum of herbs than you can taste yet not too strong because the star here is really the chicken. Speaking of seasoning, salt and pepper are your bird's best friends, so be sure to season REALLY well. These duos will help elevate the flavours and aromas of the herbs and the chicken.Then you may want to get a fresh, preferably not frozen ethically raised chicken or the best that you can afford. Another tips that may seem unconventional but logical enough in my head is to cook the chicken breast side down. I have been taught by chefs on the TV to always cook my chicken breast side up. However,  over the years, I have learnt that the heat will dry up the breast meat after hours being in the oven. So now, I know better than to cook it breast side down because the dark meat portion of the chicken has a higher fat content and in return won't over cook or dry up as fast. In return, the breast meat will get all the juices that is dropping down making it moist and succulent. I am happy to say, this little change has made a big difference in how my chicken turns out.


So, now it is time for the recipes!!

Roast Chicken 3-4 people

A Whole Chicken 1.5 kg
Salt/sea salt/ionic salt
Freshly ground black pepper, if you don't have a pepper grinder, use pestle and mortar 
Fresh herbs ( 1-2 stalks each) of sage, thyme and rosemary  (they are normally sold together, so you don't have to buy separately)
One lemon (halved)
50 grams butter cut into small cubes
Sweet Paprika powder 
Olive oil

Prep in order:

1. Wash the chicken with running water and pat dry with kitchen towels till there's no moisture left on the outside and the cavity.
2. Sprinkle and massage the salt and pepper generously on the chicken, not forgetting the cavity as well.
3. Place the fresh herbs and the halved lemon into the cavity. 
4. At this time, preheat your oven at 180 degrees Celcius and place your roasting dish or skillet into the oven.
5. Continue prepping the chicken by placing the cubes of butter underneath the skin of the chicken on both sides. Sprinkle a little paprika powder and olive oil on top. 
6. Take out the preheated tray and place your chicken breast side down and cook for about 1 hour and 45 minutes or until the juices run clear. 


The Made from Scratch Gravy
 
This gravy is special and has a special place in my heart because I came up with the recipe myself. Once you tried this, no gravy would come close to this. Homemade is always the best. And it is good for you too!!
 
Blended items:
 
Two stalks of celery
half of carrots
1 medium sized onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 cube of chicken stock
300 ml milk
 
Roux:
100 g of butter
2 tbsp of four
 
Seasoning:
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
 
 
Ingredients at the ready, it's time to make the roux. Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. When butter has all melted incorporate the flour into the butter. Continue cooking the roux until slightly golden brown. Then, mix in the blended items into the saucepan. Stir until fully incorporated. Simmer on medium low heat for 45 minutes stirring occasionally . The gravy will turn to a beautiful golden beige. If the consistency of the roux is too thick add more water or milk. Season well.
 
 
The Mash
 
The basic mash that everyone will love for its starchy goodness. You don't need to be a kitchen goddess to make one. There's really no recipe for this one. You can just have to wing it to your taste. Trust me, it is going to work!!
 
6 big American potatoes
400 ml Milk
100 g Butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Finely chopped garlic (optional)
 
 
Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut into the same size so they cook at the same time. Place into a big pot filled with water. Cook the poatoes until it is done (do the fork test, if the potatoes crumble that means it's done). Sieve the water out and bring the poatoes back into the hot pot. Using a masher or potato ricer, mash the potatoes. Add milk, butter and the rest of the ingredients. Taste and season well.
 
 
 
That is your dinner done. Don't forget to add some vegetable side dish and a salad to balance it all out. Hope you enjoy this post!!
 
 
 
 
Love,
Fatimah
 
 
 


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