Lately I’ve been thinking that it was Nigella Lawson that turned cooking around for me. Suddenly anything seemed possible, especially with her no nonsense advice.
I’ve shared my versions of a lot of her recipes here, but one of my favourites is her simple take on roast chicken.
Surely, you say, you just shove the bird in the oven and take it out when it’s done? Well, yes, that’s pretty much it, but until I started doing it Nigella’s way the end result was often a bit hit and miss. The lemon stops the chicken from drying out and creates beautiful juices for making gravy or your own chicken stock.
So do it like this:
2 lemons, cut into wedges
1 tbspn olive oil
Stuff the lemon wedges into the chicken then rub the olive oil over the skin of the chicken and sprinkle with salt.
Turn your oven up full blast and put the bird in with timer set for 15 minutes. This makes the skin go beautifully brown and crispy. Then turn the oven down to 180 celcius (fan forced) and leave it for 20 minutes per 500g plus an extra 30 minutes.
Check it’s done by seperating the leg from the carcus – if the juices run pink then send it back for another 20 minutes.
You must make your own chicken stock with the left overs. It’s so simple and so worth the effort.
As you carve your chicken chuck all the skin and bits into a big stockpot and once the carcus is picked clean, throw that in too. Leave the lemon wedges out. Chop up a carrot, an onion, some celery, parsley or rosemary (or sage, thyme or all of them) and any other veges you need to get rid of into the pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of hours, then turn the heat off and leave to cool. You can then skim off any fat from the surface, drain the liquid off the vege/chicken remians and either store it in the fridge for up to a week or freeze into cup sized portions.
We roast a chicken at least once a week because its so great to have your own stock (not least the smell of roasting chicken in your home).