Who doesn't love a good ol' roast chook? It's comfort food at its best. The beauty of it is that really, it's like a blank canvas. Chicken loves being cooked with a multitude of different flavours so you can use almost any fresh herb to change it up a little and make it different each time if you want to.
This will be the first of many roast chook recipes we'll post because there are so many different ways to do it. This method is fairly fool proof and of course the exact cooking times will also differ depending on the exact size of your bird and also your oven.
How will you know if it's cooked? My mum taught me to pierce the skin down near the thigh joint and if the juices run clear, then it's cooked. Be sure to catch all of the juices though.
Another fool proof way is to invest in a thermometer. The $10-$20 is a clever investment in my opinion. It takes all of the guess work out and you'll never ruin a fantastice piece of meat again. This way you won't lose any of the juices either. Measure the temperature of the thigh, close to the bone. There are differing opinions on this (just google and you'll see what I mean) but you want it to be at around 72-75 degrees according to health regulations. Maggie Beer, bless her, likes her chook cooked to no more than 68 degrees. Heston Blumenthal reckons 60 degrees is enough! See what I mean... It's confusing.
4 large potatoes
bunch of asparagus
8 Swiss Brown mushrooms
For the gravy
20ml dry white wine
250ml chicken stock
1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
1 sprig of thyme
Method:Remove chicken from fridge 30 mins before cooking. Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
Peel, cut into required size and par boil potatoes (half cook). Drain and leave to dry.
Place chicken in a roasting pan place a few sprigs of thyme into the cavity and then drizzle a little olive oil & verjuice, salt & pepper in there as well. Place a few sprigs of thyme between the leg & wing bones. Rub the outside of chicken with olive oil then drizzle verjuice all over the bird & season with salt & pepper. Place chicken in the oven and reduce heat to 180 degrees. Cook for 1 hour & 20 mins. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 15 mins before serving.
The potatoes require approx 1 hour cooking time. Heat 2 tbsp duck fat in a roasting tray. Coat potatoes in heated duck fat, season liberally with salt & pepper and roast until golden & crunchy, turning once or twice during cooking.
Grill asparagus on a medium heat with olive oil & a dash of verjuice. Sautée mushrooms in olive oil with some fresh thyme, salt & pepper.
If making the gravy...
Remove chicken from roasting pan to rest. Place pan on a medium-high heat. Add the white wine and stir, gently scraping the crunchy bits off the bottom of the pan (this is called deglazing). Add the chicken stock & some chopped thyme leaves and cook until liquid reduces to a sauce. Before serving, stir in the mustard if you're using it and warm through. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.