Roast chicken.
I have not roasted that many chickens. Usually I am cooking for one.. and why not stick to what I am good at? Lentils. I will make the best damn lentil and bean stews there are, and off the top of my head too.. Recipes are for the faint of heart.. for followers.
I digress. Chicken scared me, and I figured I would poison myself.

I started with a perfectly good quality organic bird, made a series of mistakes, learnt a lot in a short space of time, and wound up with a roast chicken that was good looking, delicious, and despite my suspicions to the contrary, proved not to induce Campylobacter. The end result though, is that there is a lot of room for improvement. I might try to master the oven-bag before coming back to this particular recipe.

The first mistake was to neither follow the instructions on seating the bird, nor to truss it. To be fair, Anthonys instructions in this instance are an entertaining read, but fail to get the point across. They go something like: “imagine you are on the ground with your feet and hands in the air, put the chicken like this, fold its knees up, and cut a hole below the ankles, and shove the legs in there.”
This is fine on paper.. So it went through the recipe legs akimbo. I’ve no idea what sort of effect this had on the recipe but it wasnt a great start.

After cleaning, then the above, then salt and peppering, it was time to shove ludicrous amounts of herb butter (softened butter with herbs mixed into it) under the chicken skin. I wouldnt have thought of this on my own.. Neither did Anthony though. Look up ‘Julia Child roast chicken’ on youtube. And she would have gotten it from the french old school. But still.. Brilliant!

Skip a few steps and we are roasting the bird – for 30mins at 190C, then another 25 at 230C. This doesn’t seem like long enough to me. Anthony advocates the “She’ll be right, a little bit of pink won’t hurt you” line of thinking. Frankly I’m not sold. See the evidence. The bird sure is pink in the middle.

After the chook is out of the oven I get schooled in making the most delicious gravy ever. There was half an onion and some wine in the tray when it was roasting, and the half-lemon in the cavity has rendered some fragrant juice into the mix. Over the element pour in more wine and scrape away at the roasted-on goodness. Then mix in several tablespoons of butter, some parsley, and presto.. Not a trace of corn flour!