Friday, 2 December 2016

Sundried Tomato and Herby Roast Chicken

A few weeks back, stopping to get fuel on the way home, the shop had a decent chicken reduced to about £1.30, I was doubtful as to whether the freezer had space but I picked it up anyway, along with one for my mum which I dropped off at hers and then somehow crammed it in the freezer when I got home. Can always room for a bargain! Roll on a few weeks, I rescued it from its icy lair and then spent ages deliberating over what to flavour it with! Whilst rummagaing through the fridge, I stumbled across several jars of sundried tomatoes..I swear they were breeding in there.. anyway I also saw the lemon juice and the mind started scheming... and a few hours later we tucked into a Sunday night feast!

A roast dinner is quite a rare treat at home, and quite a feat too. When it came to serving up I quickly remembered why a roast dinner is indeed a rare treat, as working with a dodgy oven with a questionable internal thermometer (that the housing peeps assure me is correctly working) and a small space certainly makes cooking fun! However this chicken dinner turned out great, the marinade complemented the chicken perfectly, without overpowering the meat and it also made for very tasty leftovers! For me the best thing about a roast is enjoying all the leftovers for a few days but with less washing up!!

One new gadget that certainly helps when you have a temperamental oven is having a kitchen thermometer, I had a rather ancient manual one that's a bit questionable too but I recently was sent a great little thermometer from Salter, which is battery powered and reads the temperature super fast. Another bonus vs my older one is that the probe is thinner, so less stabby marks in the food too!

In my kit there was also a great set of scales - I love the fact that it covers both metric and imperial - as whilst I'd not long replaced an old set, admittedly with a cheapy version, upon making an old favourite recipe I found it didn't have the older imperial measurements and ended up frantically googling to convert the figures mid baking! The surface is fully smooth and flat and wipes clean beautifully even after a sundried tomato oil bath, no easy feat! The scales are thin too which helps on storage and slides between the chopping boards in my kitchen easily! There is also a handy little magnetic backed timer in the set - I already have a couple of timers but for when doing big meals its always good to have a spare, for example important things such as timing the pudding! Its a great little set and an ideal gift for any budding chef this Christmas.

Whilst space is restricted in my kitchen, my mind never is when it comes to cooking up new experiments and its something I always retreat to and take pleasure in - a few weeks back I received such a lovely complement that really touched my heart - after someone had seen where I cook and it was how on earth do I make such beautiful food here. Okay, I'll be honest not everything gets shown on here or instagram etc, and my photography is very amateur but for me its all about the taste, and until summer comes back around my photos will be reliant on the kitchen lighting!

Whilst trying to decide whether to keep the roasts accompaniments traditional or mixing it up, I went a little over the top as on the cooking day I also picked up a reduced bag of diced swede (so much easier than wrestling the beasts!) and that got turned into lava of buttery mashed swede, then also a tray of roast potatoes, buttered greens and roasted butternut squash. For two people. I do forget how many I am feeding some days...!

A Few hours including marinading, actual hands on time about 10 minutes

1 large chicken
25g sundried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped + 1  tbsp oil from the jar
2 heaped tsp Herbs de provence
10 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp white ground pepper
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

Sauce/ gravy:
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
200 ml leftover vegetable cooking water

You will ideally need a roasting bag for the chicken, if not use foil to lightly wrap the chicken

Start by mixing up the oils, tomatoes, herbs, lemon juice and pepper, add a little salt too if desired to make a thick paste.

Place the chicken in a bowl, stab lightly and rub thoroughly with the prepared mixture, place in a roasting bag and leave for a few hours to bathe, or preferably overnight. Transfer the bag into a roasting pan.

Pre-heat oven and then cook as per timing for the weight - some chickens will have a handy cooking time on the packaging. mine was 1.6kg, If it doesn't, then I go by 20 minutes per 450g (Lb) and an extra 20 minutes. Once cooked through, allow to stand for 15 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, heat the veggie cooking water, blend the bouillon powder with the cornflour, and slacken with a little water to make a paste, as the water comes to the boil, whisk the paste in and cook until thickened.  Open up the roasting bag and stir in a few spoonfuls of the juices to the gravy.

Carve and then feast!

Disclaimer: The Salter Kitchen set was a gift. I received no payment or was obliged to provide a review of the product. All photographs are the property of Anne's Kitchen
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