I’ll never forget spending a morning at the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris – four hours on how to roast a chicken. Nothing could be easier could it? What I learnt was how you can get a great flavour and have a very moist properly cooked bird.
- 1 medium size free range/organic chicken
- Any selection of fresh herbs eg parsley, thyme, sage, sprig of rosemary
- A small onion cut in half
- Salt and pepper
- A little olive oil
- For the jus:
- Mirepoix – 1 finely chopped medium onion, 1 finely chopped carrot, 2-3 stalks of finely chopped celery
- A glass of white wine
Heat your oven to 200°C. Put your oven dish in the oven with a little oil.
While it’s heating prepare the chicken firstly seasoning the cavity well – particularly on the breast side. Place half the onion inside, scrunch up the herbs and stuff them into the cavity. Finish with the other piece of onion. Truss the legs together. (I was a bit lazy here and didn’t do it!!). Lightly season on the outside.
Place the chicken in the hot dish on its side. Drizzle with a little more oil. Also place the mirepoix in the dish. Roast for 20 minutes then turn the chicken onto the other side. Roast for another 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 180°C and turn the chicken onto its back. Continue to cook for another 35 minutes. It should then be ready. To check, tip the chicken till a little juice comes out from the cavity. If it’s not pink then the chicken is ready.
Take the chicken out of the dish and put it in another dish, breast side down. This allows all the juices to go back through the breast which is often the driest part of a cooked chicken. Cover and set aside for about 10-15 minutes.
Now make the jus. Drain off as much fat as you can, making sure you keep the other juices and finely chopped vegetables in the dish.
Place the pan on the stove top on a medium heat. Scrap around the edges to get all the bits. Add the wine and let this all bubble for about 5 minutes. If necessary add a little water and/or chicken stock. With a potato masher, squash all the vegetables to squeeze out as much juice as possible. Strain into a small pot using a sieve. Using a wooden spoon, push the vege pulp through the sieve. Discard what remains. Taste and season the jus. Add any juices that are in the bottom of the dish that the chicken is in. Keep it warm on the stove while you carve the chicken.