Thursday, July 21, 2011

Simple Roast Chicken with Bacon

Before I started to learn how to roast a chicken - I read that it was really easy. Apparently you just had to marinate the bird and stuff it into the oven and then - it's done! Well, that is kinda the concept - but then I didn't see the results I wanted. So I resorted to do a bit more research to try and see how I can further make the bird tastier and crispier.

To get a crispier roast, I compiled and followed the tips from my previous post in my latest attempt at roasting a chicken. The results were delish! By far the best. I mean I am in no way an expert when it comes to roasting a chicken, but then it was by far my best effort.

But getting the skin crisp is only half the battle. Before that, you have to make sure the chicken is marinated well. I used Jamie Oliver's recipe which I had previously blogged about here with some slight modifications.

1 chicken (this recipe is based on a chicken about 1.3kg)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns crushed ( I still had remainder black peppercorns from making this. I just used my mortar and pestle to crush them till fine. I truly would recommend this).
Olive Oil
1 lemon - sliced in half. I only used one half tho.
1 bulb garlic - peeled I ended up not using all the pips.
Fresh thyme which you can get in grocers like Cold Storage and Jaya Grocer

How to roast the chicken:

1) Take out chicken an hour before marinating/roasting. Let it come to room temperature.
2) Make slight cuts in the thigh area and breast.
3) Rub chicken all over with olive oil..
4) Season the chicken all around with the salt and pepper. Be sure to also season the cavity nicely. It may seem like a lot of salt and pepper but do bear in mind that some salt will come off in the roasting process. If you don't season it well - your chicken will be rather bland.
5) Push peeled garlic, lemon half and thyme into cavity. Tuck the wing tips behind and truss the chicken (tie the legs as referred to in earlier post).

6) Baste your wire rack on the roasting pan with some oil. Put chicken breast side down in oven pre-heated at 230C. After 15 mins, lower the temperature to 190C.

7) After 30 minutes, remove chicken and flip it to breast side up (refer to 1st photo above). If using bacon, place about 4 slices of streaky bacon on the breast.

8) Roast for further 45 minutes.  Remove chicken from oven - if you want - cover in foil and let rest for few minutes. Remove lemon, garlic and thyme from cavity. Slice up and serve with bacon on the side.

I learnt alot in making this. Like how photos of raw bacon can look absolutely gross. If you've never carved up a chicken, there are loads of tutorials on You Tube like this one.
Note: The roasting time will depend on the size of the chicken. The timing in this post is based on a chicken about 1.3kg.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to make crispy roast chicken

PS: There was actually more bacon on the chicken - but I removed them before taking the shot! My bad.
After learning how to roast a chicken successfully, I was eager to get it done even better. My initial attempt was alright, but then my other half and I concluded that we would have liked the chicken skin crispier.

So thanks to the net and my sis, I gathered some tips and put them to the test. Glad to report, Ops Chicken Skin Crispy - was a success. I will share the very simple roast chicken recipe in my next post. First - lemme list down the invaluable tips.

Tips on how to get crispy skin on roast chicken:

1) Firstly get a roasting pan with a wire rack. I bought mine from Ikea and I think it's a damn good buy. The rack is crucial as it allows the juices from the chicken to drip down and not collect around the chicken.

2) Wash the chicken thoroughly and pat it dry thoroughly. Use some kitchen paper and blot off all the excess moisture on the chicken. You want a dry chicken to start with. You can then place it in a bowl big enough, cover it and let it rest in the fridge (if cooking on that day).

3) Remove the chicken from the fridge at least an hour before roasting. This to me is invaluable. This is because it allows the chicken to come to room temperature before you put it in the oven. Before you start prepping the chicken, you may once again blot away any moisture.

4) Tuck the wing tips of the chicken behind and using some kitchen string - tie up the legs (after seasoning).

Now trust me when I say it's not as hard as it looks - especially when it comes to trussing the chicken. It not only makes the chicken look more presentable but allows for even cooking. It was my first time actually using kitchen string to tie up the legs. It was pretty interesting to do.

 I shall refer you to two excellent tutorials which can help you get started. Click here or here. Remember! You don't have to follow their every step - I know I didn't. But it will give you a rough idea on how to start. I got my stash of Kitchen String from The Kitchen Shop at Empire Shopping Gallery (Subang).

This is how you tuck the wing tips behind so they appear snug.

5) The most crucial step toward getting the skin crispy would be to start at a high temperature setting initially when roasting the chicken. I started cooking the bird at 230C for the first 15 minutes. You may then lower the setting to 190C.

6) Roast chicken breast side down for first 30 minutes. That's right. Some recipes call for the bird to be roasted breast side up the entire cooking time. For the skin to get crispy, start with roasting it breast side down upon which you will flip the bird over.

In my next post - I will share how I marinated and stuffed the chicken using this recipe but with some modifications. In the meantime, I hope these tips help if you're into crispy roast chicken.

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