Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Roast Chicken

This is one of LW's favourites. In fact, if I had cooked it with Skirlie, it would have been THE favourite. But I did roast veggies, gravy & mash. I'm contrary like that.

Roast chicken is an art. I'm constantly varying the way I do it, using slightly different ingredients, and aiming for that pinnacle of the roast; savoury, crisp salty skin, with gentle, soft, and moist flesh. Sometimes I get close. This time I did the following:

-Washed & dried the bird.
-Carefully separated the skin from the legs & breast without tearing or removing it.
-Placed butter under the skin.
-Oiled the bird lightly and then coated the skin with lots of salt and crushed green & red peppercorns.
-Roast at 200 deg (centigrade) for 30 min then 160 for another 75 min, removing the juices that develop to separate them to make a gravy.

I'm writing this as the chook is cooking. So who knows how this will work out? I should, I've done a variation on this theme 100s of times!

Here's how it started out:

In case anyone was wondering, this is a free-range chook (on special at New World for $8.99!) Note the huge chunks of butter under the skin; these will be poured off at the draining of the juices, separated and used to make a roue with some flour for the gravy. By then the chicken should be buttery and moist.

Oh, the tension: here's the roasted bird:

hers, and...


Though I say it myself, the gravy was a treat!

One more thing: I'm still getting used to taking photos of the food; Getting anything looking appetizing is proving tricky. Bear with me; I'll get there!


  1. Hi lovely, and Roast Chicken is Dexter's favourite too. If the bird is a big one, as a variation, you might want to steep it overnight in water, orange juice, olive oil, salt/peppercorns and lots of herbs/spices (latter to your fancy) to let the skin really soak up all the juices and flavour the meat (works really well with turkey and as a result I never get dry turkey). Pat it dry before putting it in the oven and stuff it (lots of lovely things you can put into a chicken to keep it moist and flavoursome! Cover it in the roasting tin with tin foil for most of the cooking until about just over half way through but before 3/4 of the way and then take the tinfoil off and let it brown and crisp up. Because you have soaked it overnight, the bird meat doesn't dry out but the skin really does get all yummy and crispy. For christmas Turkey, I usually soak it for a couple of days as the bird is much bigger and also turkey needs more time/juice to absorb to make it really moist.

    I love cooking too....

  2. isn't it great how couples seem to manage the delicate art of sharing a chook without squabbles - i see LW's into breasts while you are a leg man... c & i are the other way round dark meat for moi, white for him...
    have to confess the skirlie had me heading straight for google... its a new one for sure...

  3. Skirlie

    As a side-dish

    4 oz fat or 4 tablespoons of oil

    (traditionally a good flavoured dripping or beef suet would have been used)

    2 onions, finely chopped
    1 3/4 cups medium oatmeal which may be lightly toasted (NOT rolled oats!)
    Salt and pepper to season

    Also used as stuffing for Beef Olives as an alternative to sausage meat
    [edit] Preparation

    Melt the fat or heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and cook until soft and golden. Add the oatmeal and mix in well. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the oatmeal is cooked and crisp. Season well with pepper and serve with light creamy mashed potatoes. It is also a very good accompaniment to rich meaty and gamey stews.

    Alternatively it can be eaten on its own, and is surprisingly tasty when accompanied by grated raw carrot or cabbage.

    As a poultry Stuffing
    Skirlie may also be used as a stuffing for any kind of game bird or poultry. It can be mixed into a 'stiff' stuffing without first frying the onions or oatmeal in the fat (use 1 1/4 cup shredded suet and 1 3/4 cups medium oatmeal for stuffing). Add some stock or water to just slightly moisten the stuffing mix. Stuff lightly into the bird's cavity. Please note that it is not advisable to do this with very large birds to avoid food poisoning. Suet gives the stuffing a very distinct, traditional taste and brings out the nutty flavour of the oatmeal.

    "Mealie Jimmy" is a Scots white pudding especially common in the North East and Highlands of Scotland. The filling is similar to skirlie and the skins are the usual thin intestines of pigs or whatever. When sold in chipshops they are usually deep fried in batter and are often bought with black puddings cooked in the same manner.
    (thank you Wikipedia!)

  4. Looking forward to something that ain't chicken! lol :D Not a great lover of chicken really, okay with the tatse but I hate that it still looks like a chicken, albeit bald and headless. Looks very yummy though.

  5. Oops! I had forgotten to say, that this is just a chicken blog!

    Actually, a very kind friend of ours has just dropped in some freshly-caught snapper fillets for our tea tonight: so homemade fish & chips is on the menu!

    As an addition to Laura's Skirlie recipe: I often add the roasting juices from the chicken to the skirlie before serving; this makes it taste much more like the white pudding I remember from Ayreshire!

    Posted by lloyd from laura's laptop!