We had a few guests to celebrate the end of one of Deon’s grief share courses, and we decided to ask Jamie Oliver to help us with the menu. I had another commitment on Saturday morning and when I returned home, Deon had already prepared the roast chicken and veggies – ready for the oven. It was a perfectly roast chicken, but Deon thought that he would rather cook it in the weber next time, and that he would cook the veggies separately. We prefer our vegetables more al dente and not too cooked.
This is the recipe, thanks to Jamie Oliver:
Serves 4 – 6 (We doubled everything for 12 people)
1,6 kg chicken
2 medium onions
2 sticks celery
1 bulb garlic
Freshly ground pepper
1 small bunch fresh thyme, rosemary, bay or sage, or a mixture
To prepare your chicken:
Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before it goes into the oven. Preheat your oven to 240⁰C. There’s no need to peel the vegetables – just give them a wash and roughly chop them. Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled. (My tip, buy a bulk packet of vegetable chunks from Woolworths. Good value for money, and everything has been done for you.)
Pile all the veg and garlic into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the bird. Carefully prick the lemon all over, using the tip of a sharp knife (pop it in the microwave for 40 seconds to bring out the flavour). Put the lemon inside the chicken’s cavity, with the bunch of herbs.
To cook your chicken:
Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting tray and put it into the preheated oven. Turn the heat down immediately to 200⁰C and cook the chicken for 1 hour and 20 minutes. If you’re doing roast potatoes, this is the time to do that. Get them into the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking.
Baste the chicken halfway through cooking and if the veg look dry, add a splash of water to the tray to stop them burning. When cooked, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the chicken to a board to rest for 15 minutes or so. Cover with a layer of tinfoil and a tea towel and put aside. Now is the time to make a gravy of your choice.
To carve the chicken:
Remove any string from the chicken and take off the wings. Carefully cut down between the leg and the breast. Cut through the joint and pull the leg off. Repeat on the other side, and then cut each leg between the thigh and the drumstick so you end up with four portions of dark meat. Place these on a serving platter. You should now have a clear space to carve the rest of your chicken. Angle the knife along the breastbone and carve one side off, then the other.
When you get down to the fussy bits, just use your fingers to pull all the meat off, and turn the chicken over to get all the tasty, juicy bits from underneath. You should be left with a stripped carcass, and a platter full of lovely meat that you can serve with your piping hot gravy and gorgeous roast veg. (Deon added some sprigs of rosemary during the cooking process.)
My part of the meal was to prepare a lasagne. Despite a little crisis, thirty minutes before the guests arrived, I realised that I did not have enough lasagne sheets and Deon had do rush off to buy some.
But luckily nobody noticed and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon. Dessert was a lovely nougat cake with cream. And Leica enjoyed sitting on the guests’ clothes.