Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Roasting Time - Chicken and Autumn Veggies

It may still be warm here in London, but it is also October and my body clock has spoken: it is time for roasts! I adore the UK-tradition of Sunday roasts though I don't limit myself to making them on Sundays.  Yes, they take a while to cook, but they are quick to prepare.  Just turn on the oven as soon as you walk in the door, prepare the meat and veggies, shove it all in the oven, and put on an episode of Mad Men or two episodes of SATC while you let the cosy smell of roast spread all over the house (or, in my case, flat).

There are so many great autumn vegetables out there begging to be roasted: pumpkins, squash, parsnips, carrots, leeks, celeriac, swedes, beet roots.  And the best part is that these vegetables cost next to nothing!

Chicken Roast for 4 people:
1 chicken
fresh sage
fresh thyme
1 lemon
1 swede
5 carrots
3 leeks
3 onions
4 garlic bulbs (yes, bulbs!)
1 kg of potatos
olive oil
sea salt and pepper

1. Turn the oven on and let it pre-heat to 200 degrees.  Take the chicken out of the fridge.

2. Wash the potatos and boil them for 10 minutes (this will make them quicker to roast).  Add a whole lemon to the boiling water too (you will use this for the chicken in step 4).

3. Meanwhile, wash and peel the carrots and swede. Cut them into pieces.  Cut the carrots into quarters and cut the swede into 3cm x 3cm pieces.  Peel the onions and cut them in half.  Wash the leeks and slice each of them into 2-3 pieces.

4. Put some oil in the bottom of a roasting tray.  Place the chicken in the roasting tray.  Put thyme and sage inside the chicken and squeeze some in between the legs and the body too.  Take the lemon out of the boiling water, poke some holes in it with a knife (this is a Jamie Oliver trick) and put it inside the chicken.  Rub the bird with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Arrange the vegetables and the garlic around the chicken in the tray.  Add a bit of oil, salt and pepper.  Mix it all around with your hands.

5. Put the potatos in a separate tray.  Add oil, salt, pepper, sage and thyme.  Mix up it and shake the spuds around a bit so that they get oil on them.

6.  Put the tray with the chicken in the oven for one hour.  Add the potatos for the last 30 minutes.

7.  The chicken takes about an hour to roast.  Here is a tip to make sure it is ready: take it out of the oven and break away one leg from the body.  If the juice is clear it is done.  If it is still a bit red then it needs more time.

Each person gets a garlic bulb.  Squeeze out the garlic and use it to smear over the meat and potatos. Bon appetit and who cares if your colleagues give you strange looks the next day? Could be worse - you could have forgotten to put on your skirt!

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