I love lazy
Days where you roll out of bed mid morning
and spend the rest of, at home, doing absolutely nothing.
They are increasingly rare to come by these days,
which makes the odd day that the Baba & I can spend nurturing our inner sloth all the better.
Even Vico, who by canine nature is rather hardworking,
seemed caught up in the lazy air that pervaded over our home as well.
I wasn’t entirely unproductive.
Weekends at the Baba & Nyonya Celup’s have come to be known as Roast Chicken + Roast Chicken Leftover Days.
Think roast chicken on a Saturday, pie on a Sunday.
These leftovers also came in handy for an emergency wrap when the Baba decided, at the drop of a hat, to drive down to the Capital after work
to catch one of the rare moments Arsenal’s (non existant) defence didn’t screw a match up.
But then again, the win was like stealing candy from a newborn kid.
Since I posted my Roast Herbed Lemon Chicken recipe,
two questions that I get asked most are:
1) How to truss the chicken?
2) Why your chicken skin not brown wan?
Apparently, the link I’d put up to a very instructive bird-trussing video by Michael Ruhlman got lost among the orange text.
Since I have been in a (virtual) scrapbooking mood,
I took it as an opportunity to make my own tutorial!
No easy feat, mind you, considering I had to first start by experimenting with the few free scrapbooking softwares on the net
(some less desirable than others, but I am a cheapo);
as well as overcome my own technological, spatial & creative handicaps.
But I am now pleased to present to you,
The NyonyaCelup.com’s Easy Bird-trussing Tutorial:
Truss* Yo’ Bird!
*Refresher: Trussing a bird = tying it up so that the legs & wings are pulled as close to the body as possible before cooking.
It helps keep the bird looking nice (seriously, who wants flapping wings in your roast);
as well as keep the breasts juicy.
However, I usually omit this step if the chicken weighs between 1-2 kg
& take a short cut by just tying the legs together & tucking the wings.
The lemon inside the cavity also helps keep the shape,
as well as maintain the moisture in the breasts.
Now, on to the second question,
I’m reposting an improved version of my roast chicken recipe — let’s just call it v. 2.0
— with improved skin browning & crisping.
Roast Herbed Lemon Chicken v. 2.0
♣ 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
♣ 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
♣ 6 strips streaky bacon
♣ real maple syrup
– If you can’t find the real stuff, please don’t use the artificial gunk that tries to pass for it;
substitute with honey.
♣ 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 @ 240 °C.
♦Truss chicken (see above).
♦ 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.
♦ Season chicken exterior generously with salt* & pepper.
*Very important, as the salt will help in the browning of the skin
— there is a scientific explanation involving osmosis, but let’s not go there.
For adequate coverage, sprinkle the salt down from a height
— falls like snow!
♦ 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.
♦ Toss chopped onion & garlic into roasting pan.
♦ Add enough water just to barely cover the bottom of your pan.
♦ Set chicken onto wire rack atop roasting pan: breast up, wings tucked in (see picture above).
♦ Arrange streaky bacon on top of breast.
♦ 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.
♦ Reduce oven temperature to 200 °C & pop back into oven.
♦ 10 mins before done, remove chicken from oven again;
drizzle generously with maple syrup.
♦ Pop back into oven & watch carefully to avoid maple syrup burning.
♦ Once done, 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