Is there a word that describes a person who is a perfectionist and a procrastinator at the same time? If so, please let me know as that’s what should go in my bio. I’m pretty confident that I’m half-half; half perfectionist and half procrastinator. Let me explain with an example: as i write this post, there is a humongous pile of baby clothes nearby. These are Baby K’s clothes for the next 6 months or so, all carefully selected for when she goes to Pakistan with me soon-ish. They’re in a giant pile because I can’t just fold them and pack them in a suitcase like “normal” people; I need to organise them into categories (i.e. vests, sleepsuits, etc) and then pack them into clear plastic, air suctioned, labelled bags. Then pack with the older sized ones at the bottom and newer ones on top. And they’re sitting in a big pile because I am a giant procrastinator! So in a nutshell, I have grand ideas that very often just don’t come to life because there’s onl’y 24 hours in a day (what’s that about?!) So now that I have actually reached grand perfection with something, I need to share it! This dear friends is a roast chicken recipe that I am proud of. The Secret? Of course, like most food that tastes amazeballs, there is some extra effort involved. Don’t worry, you’re not going to have to slaughter the chicken yourself after hand-feeding it for 40 days, or anything like that! But you do need to allow at least 24 hours to make this recipe. And that’s because the first step is to brine the chicken for 12 hours, or overnight (more details and procedure below). This always seemed to me like a faffy, chefy thing to do. But I stand corrected. It’s so simple and results in such a tender, flavoursome meat. Definitely worth that extra effort. There are lots of different ingredients for brining that can be used. Feel free to share what you include in the comments, if you do this step too! Over the Years… It’s not just the brining that makes this my favourite roast chicken recipe; over the years I’ve tried lots of different marinades. From soy sauce to yoghurt, I’ve added and taken away lots of things and found this combination to be the best. A little honey balances out the necessary tartness from the lemon juice, and also gives the skin a lovely caramelised look. Fresh rosemary is no secret when it comes to any roast meat, but I also add a little dried oregano with it (fresh oregano was a little too overpowering for me). Finally, garam masala is a must; this is basically a mix of ground spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cardamoms. The end-result is a very subtle but flavoursome and juicy roast that goes perfectly with any sides you like. And if you have any leftover, here are some ideas of what to do with it. Ingredients 1 whole baby chicken, with skin-on 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp mined garlic 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper 1/2 tsp garam masala powder 1/4 tsp dried oregano (or mixed herbs) 1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary 1 tbsp good quality honey 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice For the brine: 800ml cold water 1 tbsp peppercorns 100g salt 100g sugar Start with the brine. Put 400ml water, the peppercorns, salt and sugar in a pot and bring it to boil. Then let it simmer for around 5 minutes and cool completely. Add the remaining 400ml water and pop you washed chicken into it. Cover with some cling film and refrigerate overnight. Take out the chicken and leave it to dry on a wire rack, or pat dry with some paper towels (you can discard the brine now). Then, marinate with the olive oil, garlic, black pepper, garam masala, dried oregano, fresh rosemary, honey and lemon juice.
Important: don’t add any salt when you marinate the chicken, as the salt in the brine is enough! If you really want to, you can sprinkle over a tiny bit of sea salt right at the end, but the brining ensures enough salt penetrates the meat, so you don’t have to.
Feel free to throw on everything at once, but I like to rub in each marinade ingredient separately. Leave for at least an hour, or if you’re being very organised and not in a rush, for another night!
When you’re ready to cook, preheat your oven at 180 degrees Celsius for at least 30 minutes before putting the chicken in. Then bake uncovered for approximately 40-50 minutes. At around the 30 minute mark, check to see it is cooking evenly and adjust if necessary. You can also flip it over at this point. And that’s it. Carve away!