Most Malaysians — or at least the ones that I know — have this misconception that Western cooking is difficult.
And it’s not just amateurs who won’t cook anything unless it came out of a box / packet;
I refer also to ladies who whip up mouth watering laksas, scrumptious curries, magnificent rendangs, etc.
They are quite reluctant to try their hand at cooking Western dishes;
and the excuse is usually that it looks too hard.
So they buy their roasts from the local supermarket;
add milk and water into their packet mac & cheese;
and stir minced meat into their bottled sauces.
Which shouldn’t be the case, because Western cooking is actually really simple. And straightforward.
Well, at least, the simple staple dishes are. 😉
The Nyonya for one appreciates the fact that she doesn’t need to pound and grind a-million-and-one spices before she actually starts cooking the dish.
So you may not be the next Gordon Ramsay;
and the spatially challenged — like me —may never present dishes that look like they came out from the French Laundry;
but you’ll never have to Q up to buy half price chicken roast at Tesco ever again!
Maybe that was just me and the Baba.
Since we’re talking about roasts —
Roast Herbed Lemon Chicken
♣ 1 whole chicken, minus the yuck inside
– You may or may not choose to remove the wishbone at this juncture;
but since I aim for as easy as it can get, I don’t mind leaving it in.
♣ 1 handful (each) thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano
– This is my combination because these are the herbs I have growing in the Zen Garden.
♣ salted butter at room temperature (spreadable), amount depends on chicken size
♣ black pepper, preferably freshly grinded
♣ olive oil
♣ 1 lemon, cut in half
♣ 3 onions, 1 whole & 2 finely chopped
♣ 2 garlic bulbs, 1 whole & 1 finely chopped
♣ 1/2 cup water
♣ 6 strips streaky bacon
♣ sherry cooking wine
♣ 1 1/2 tbsp corn flour, whisked well into 1/4 cup water at room temp
– Important. You’ll end up with lumps if you add it into the hot sauce directly.
♣ kitchen twine
♦ Preheat oven @ 200 °C.
You’ll want to do this for 2 reasons:
1. to maintain the shape of the chicken while roasting; &
2. to keep the breasts juicy.
I was in a rush — think 1 hour before dinnertime — to prepare this, so I couldn’t take any pictures;
but Michael Ruhlman has put up a video that makes the process look so (deceptively) easy!
Which it actually is, once you get the hang of it. 🙂
You may choose to omit this step if your chicken is between 1-2 kg.
Just tie the drumsticks together & tuck the wings under the chicken.
The lemon, garlic, and onion that you stuff in the cavity will also assist in that while keeping the breast juicy.
♦ Take half of all your herbs, chop finely, and mix well with salted butter.
♦ Season cavity with salt & pepper. Amount will depend on your personal preference.
♦ Tie remaining herbs into a bunch & stuff into cavity.
♦ Squeeze lemon juice into & onto chicken and into roasting pan.
♦ Stuff lemon into cavity.
♦ Stuff whole onion & garlic in as well.
♦ Gently lift chicken skin & spread herbed butter underneath, reaching into as far as you can get without breaking it.
♦ Spread remainder of butter onto skin.
♦ Season chicken exterior generously with salt & pepper.
♦ Toss chopped onion & garlic into roasting pan. Add water.
♦ Set chicken onto wire rack atop roasting pan: breast up, wings tucked in (see picture above).
♦ Arrange streaky bacon on top of breast.
♦ Cover with foil.
♦ Pop into oven.
I suggest you check online for roasting times,
since I never roast anything bigger than 2-3 kg, mine is usually done in 1 1/2 hours.
♦ Take out after 30 mins, remove bacon — you can eat it with the chicken later or add it to a salad —
and baste chicken.
♦ Pop back into oven without foil.
♦ 15 mins before done, increase temperature to @ 240 °C to help brown & crisp the skin.
♦ Remove from oven and cut away twine. Remove stuffing.
♦ Allow to rest on wire rack (with a plate below to catch dripping juices) for 15 mins before serving.
Meanwhile, you can make yourself busy preparing the sauce for the chicken.
I know there are more correct ways to do this, but we’re aiming for fast & easy.
♦ Remove as much fat as possible from remaining slush in roasting pan.
It actually makes for a nice — albeit unhealthy — salad vinaigrette.
♦ Transfer to stove top on low heat & allow to bubble.
♦ Add splash of sherry & allow to bubble for another minute or so.
♦ Add cornflour mixture.
♦ Stir till well mixed.
♦ Remove from stove & strain into serving container.
♦ Serve with chicken. Tastes well with pasta too.
Prep time: 15 mins, once you get your trussing method right
Cooking time: 1 hr 45 mins, inclusive of resting & saucing
Feeds: 6 comfortably, with leftovers for pie — 8 is stretching it
Ok lar, the recipe sounds complicated partly due to my inability to paraphrase and keep things simple,
but I promise you it’s really easy.
You may never want to buy supermarket roast again. Ever. 😉
You will also notice that I do not add any root vegetables to my roasting pan;
mainly because the Baba doesn’t eat anything without a mother (READ: obligate carnivore),
and because I’m not particularly fond of them.
But feel free to throw in any particular combination of carrots, turnips, parsnips, mushrooms, etc.
And if you can’t finish your chicken in one sitting:
Till next time!