“Eight o’clock, table for two and a chicken”
I spent years buying separate chicken thighs, and breasts to cook, before I realised how blooming easy it is to cook the whole chicken and get more out of it. Not to mention better value.
Earlier this week, I trotted off (timely since the Olympic equestrian events were on in Greenwich Park that day…) to discover my new local butchers in Greenwich called Drings, and bought a rather large free-range chicken to roast just for me. Back at home a mere couple of hours later I had myself a delicious chicken to devour. The meat was absolutely delicious, tender, it fell off the bone, and don’t get me started on how amazing the crispy skin was. I also made a stock from the carcass, which I shall be saving for a soup or stew and I’m not yet what I should do with the innards (imagine my delight when I realised these came with the chicken too – all tied up in a little bag!) perhaps another stock or just fry the liver for a salad…
I am by no means an expert on roasting chicken, but can tell you this – the secret to a good roast chicken is simple: buy the best chicken you can get your hands on. That’s it, good quality meat speaks for itself. Here’s how I roasted mine.
- 1 whole free-range chicken, mine 1.8kg
- Half a head of garlic (you can leave the skin on)
- Bay leaf and fresh rosemary
- Olive oil
- Pre-heat oven (fan) to 170 degrees
- Half the lemon and push the halves inside the chicken cavity along with the garlic, bay leaf and sprigs of fresh rosemary.
- Rub about a tsp or so of olive oil all over the chicken skin, and roast in the oven uncovered on a specialist roasting tray (or my DIY version of a wire roasting rack above a baking tray) for 1hour and 10 mins.
- When done, the juices should run clear. Remove from oven, let rest for a bit and slice up!
Since I couldn’t quite manage the entire chicken in one go I divided up the rest of the meat into 5 bagged portions, and stuck them in the freezer. Now that should keep me going for work lunches and quick dinners for ages!
So from this 1 chicken I will have got;
- 6 portions of chicken as a main meal
- 2 litres of chicken stock
- The innards which I may well make more stock with (for now they went in the freezer)
- Plus the liver which are too bitter for more stock (thank you Delia Smith for the tip), but I might fry them to top a salad.
The chicken cost just over £15. I Initially panicked that this was rather a lot of money for a chicken, but when you look at the above it seems an absolute bargain.
I also got some minted lamb chops, and 800g of grass-fed lamb mince, as well as 2 marrow bones (for stock making) so looking forward to cooking up a storm with all of that. I think a Moussaka with the lamb mince is going to follow next week… Thank you Mr Drings!
Buy the way – the top quote is from the Musical Hello Dolly in case you were wondering….