Over our December holidays I was chatting to my family one day about what they think most food blogs lack. My brothers immediately said “Simple, basic recipes that deliver seriously good results.” That got me thinking. Yes, this blog is called “Simply Delicious” and yes, I pride myself on making simple and delicious food but in many of my recipes, I assume that you, the reader, know what I talk about when I say “sauté the onions” and “julienne the courgettes”. But in fact, there are probably quite a few kitchen newbies reading my posts not knowing what the heck is going on. And yes, I often say “But just Google what it means” but that’s sometimes such a hassle. Which brings me to the point of this rather long-winded intro: I have decided to start a series of “Basics” posts. Posts in which I guide you through the basic recipes every person needs to know, in my opinion. Recipes that take next to no time to put together, using ingredients most people have in their cupboards.
This series kicks off with a seriously kick-ass roast chicken (obviously). I love Nigella Lawson for many reasons but her quote “You could probably get through life without knowing how to roast a chicken, but the question is, would you want to?” pretty much sums up how I feel about roast chicken. I think she also said that a kitchen never really feels like it’s hers until she’s roasted a chicken in it. Yep, she knows what she’s talking about that one. And yes, the simplest of roast chicken recipes include no more than a few herbs, a lemon and some garlic and yes, those chickens are absolutely deeeelicious but what if you wanted something a little more showy? Well then my friends, you have come to the right place. This chicken is so absolutely awesome, it completely deserves it’s “Kick-ass” title.
The thing with this chicken is that it is flavoured with spices you probably already have in your cupboards. Food purists, look away now. I’m talking about that BBQ/Chicken/Texan/-spice mix goodie you have hiding there at the back of your cupboard. Most foodies would die before using those spices but I think they have their place, and that place happens to be on this-here chicken. I like to use a mixed spice like that (they usually contain many different herbs and spices and the ones made for chicken are particularly good here), mixed with a little smoked paprika, cayenne pepper salt and pepper. I then add a little oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice before basting the chicken with the spicy concoction. The trick to a really juicy, flavoursome bird is to baste the chicken with this mixture continuously while cooking (a trick my husband taught me). Every 20 minutes or so I give the chicken a good slather of the spicy oil and this results in proper “yum”-inducing stuff. I’m serious. I couldn’t stop saying “yuuuuuuum” while eating this chicken. And once you’ve mastered this bad boy, you can move on to my Indian-spiced roast chicken which takes it to a whole other level.
But first I want you to tell me what the dishes are that you think I should be focusing on in this series. What are the things that you would love to learn to cook?
- for the spicy oil
- 3 teaspoons mixed spice of your choice (I used a chicken spice)
- 1-2 teaspoons smoked/sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- black pepper to taste
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- for the roast chicken
- 1 x 1.5-1.8kg free-range chicken, giblets removed
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
- Combine all the ingredients for the spicy oil in a small bowl and mix well.
- Season the chicken lightly with salt, not forgetting about the cavity.
- Place the chicken onto a baking sheet / into a roasting pan then brush with the spice mixture, ensuring you cover the skin completely. For added flavour you could also brush some of the mixture into the cavity of the chicken.
- Place the chicken into the pre-heated oven and allow to roast for 1 hour - 90 mins, or until the juices run clear when you make a cut between the drumstick and the breast. Baste the chicken every 20 minutes with the remaining oil mixture.
- When the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven then cover with foil and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Carve the chicken and serve.