I love autumn. The kaleidoscopic colours of the trees; the warm, earthy smell of rustling dry leaves; the excuse to cover my grown out, neglected, wiry barnet with a jauntily tilted beret. Well less "jauntily tilted", more "a bit skew wiff", due to having given one of the kids a horsey around the garden before we left for our walk to the shops.
Do you know what I hate about autumn? Having collected yet another virus/infection/bug and a flare up of seasonal eczema. Yes, I am both contagious and more unsightly than ever at this time of year.
So how do we best represent early October, in a culinary sense? By roasting a chicken with as many cold remedies as possible. Fortunately, it tastes pretty amazing too. (Note: Lemsip may not be included in this dish, but may complement it.)
IngredientsWhole chicken (no giblets)
3 cloves garlic
Herbs - sprig of rosemary
Salt and pepper if you like
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
- Roughly chop carrot and onion, place onto roasting tray as bed for chicken. Sit chicken on top.
- Grate zest of half an orange, mince a clove of garlic and stir into about 25-50g of softened (room temp) butter. Add cracked black pepper and maybe even chilli flakes if you're adventurous
- Make small slits in skin over chicken breasts and drummers, stuff with this butter mix.
- If you're brave, try stuffing an orange slice, or half one, in here too.
- Stuff a couple of chunks of onion, a slice of onion and couple of halved garlic cloves, I like a wee sprig of rosemary too.
- Rub skin with leftover mixture and a bit of rock/sea salt. Skip salt if making stock for a baby later.
- Cover with tin foil, put in oven for recommended time on packaging - or 20 minutes per pound, plus 15 minutes.
- Remove foil 20 minutes from end to crisp the skin up.
- Leave to sit for a while, admire your handiwork, preferably witha large glass of wine.
- Ignore that roasting tin, sure it'll come clean after a very long soak in the sink. Anyway, someone else will take care of that surely. Won't they? It'll be fine.
Serve the good bits, save the rest! Strip it after (poor wee chick, but don't worry it's not going to feel a thing) and save all edible meat in a Tupperware tub. You can use it in a pie or soup, or both.
Break up the carcass, put it in a big heavy bottomed pot with a roughly chopped carrot and an onion, maybe a sprig of a herb or something. Cover it in water. Boil, then simmer, lid on for 2 hours. Keep checking and top it up with water if it gets too low.
Lo and behold, you've made stock! Bugger off, Bisto! Get tae, Oxo cubes! You're now a proper cook, like your gran. Drain off liquid with a sieve, leave it to cool. It'll turn to jelly. Freeze some, use for baby cooking. And it's great for adding to soups, and pie fillings.
Well done! You may have spent this entire dinner in the kitchen - but you have achieved a roast chicken PLUS stock! Proud of you.