I was flipping through some cookbooks last week and came across Matt Okines ‘Short Cuts to glory’. If you are not familiar with Matt Okine, he is an Australian comedian not a chef and his book promises easy to follow recipes for beginners through to masterchefs. Almost fortuitously while looking at the roast chicken recipe his TV show came on the ABC making exactly that. I took it as a sign and announced to the people I live with that I would make it on Thursday night.
I can’t find a link online to the actual recipe, but you can watch him make it here (episode 10).
An organised person may have thought to check the cookbook and look up what ingredients I would need to buy before heading off to work on Thursday, perhaps even buying the ingredients the day before to make sure nothing was forgotten. unfortunately in my personal life I am rarely organised. I ran to the shops on Thursday afternoon and grabbed a chicken, some rosemary, potatoes, carrots and a large green capcium because they were on special, I then kept my fingers crossed that everything else would already be at home.
It was about 5:30pm by the time I got home with everything, and as the smallest chicken I could find was quite large (2kgs!) I started straight away. This meant that I did not have time to leave the chicken hanging out on the counter for 30 mins like the recipe recommends to bring it to room temperature.
In the recipe they suggest that you should cook your chicken on the rack in the oven and have the tray of vegetables under it to catch all the juices. This sounded a little too messy for my liking, and thankfully I had a rack that I could cook the chicken on but still keep it on the tray. This meant that the vegetables would not get the chicken juice during cooking but also meant I would have it all at the bottom of the tray to add into the gravy anyway. As I had fairly large chicken I decided to get it in the oven striaght away and start on the veges afterwards.
Side note: Matt tells you to wash your chicken. I cannot stress enough what bad advice this is. You should never wash a raw chicken, it actually increases your chance of getting food poisoning, read more about that here.
Anyway, back to me. My first challenge was stuffing the chicken, they say to add a bunch of rosemary. How much is a bunch? well i just googled it and it turns out 22 sprigs, I used 4. As I didn’t check the recipe beforehand I didn’t end up purchasing fresh thyme, but I added a teaspoon of dried thyme instead. When it came time to actually stuffing it I chickened out and asked someone else to do it for me.
Once I had the chicken cooking I went back to the veges, got them all cut up, popped them on a tray and put them in the oven about 25/30min after the chicken went in
About an hour later as the chicken was almost cooked I went back to the cookbook and looked up how to make the gravy. It was at this point someone pointed out to me that I had not included leeks and onion but that capsicum would not be an appropraite substitute so my gravy only ended up having carrots and did not become the nice dark brown colour like in Matt’s pictures.
The final dish ended up tasting really good. I was so excited that I didn’t overcook the chicken and it was still super moist which was a first for me! So 9/10 recommend this cookbook (would have been a 10 if he didn’t include the washing chicken part)
What I have learnt from this experience:
- Roasts are not really a weeknight dish, if I try this again I will allow for more time
- Read the whole recipe at the start 😛
- maybe have a shopping list/check ingredients before heading to coles.
- Roast dinners do not make for the most pretty pictures