Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

Eating and Cooking all the things in Melbourne

Roast Chicken with Real Gravy and Roast Vegetables

Haha! I made a roast! I am generally so impatient that roasts rarely get made in this household (if anyone doing the roasting, it’s usually Josh. He is the patient one). But I figured, hell, I’m unemployed anyway.

So for our little Saturday roast dinner for two, there are a few components: roast chicken, roast potatoes, parsnip and carrots, gravy and braised cabbage. These are based on Jamie Oliver’s* Perfect Roast Chicken,  Roast Potatoes, Parsnips and Carrots, A Consistently Good Gravy and Braised Bacon Cabbage from his Ministry of Food book but with my own twists and limitations, obviously.

Roast chicken: I send Josh off to do the neighbours a favour by pruning their way-overgrown rosemary bush. Meanwhile, I turn the oven on to 2oo c. (with fan on). I wash and pat the chicken dry**. I had to cough up and buy a lemon because the really nice lemons that Jim gave us are way too big for the chicken’s jacksie. I prick the lemon  few times*** and then nuke it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Good luck and timing have it, Josh came back with some rosemary sprigs. I put some rosemary leaves with the (hot) lemon up the chicken cavity. Dress the chicken with some olive oil, salt, pepper and some more rosemary. I also cut up an onion and a carrot into thick slices and place them on the roasting tray. I rest the chicken on the onion and carrot slices and pour a little bit of water on the roasting tray to prevemt the roasting tray drying out and cremate the veggies because I’ll need them for gravy later. The chicken (weighing about 1.5kg) goes in at 200′ c. for about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Check the roast and baste the chicken when necessary. If the onion and carrots are drying out, add a little water to the tray. Not too much because you’ll end up steaming the chicken. Don’t forget to rest your chicken before serving for about 10 minutes.

After – yes I cremated them a little. Oops.

Roasted Potatoes, Parsnips and Carrots: Because they only need about 30 minutes in the oven, you can do this while the chicken is roasting in the oven. Start by peeling the 4 small potatoes, halve them if they’re too big and cover with cold water. Bring to boil for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, peel two parnsips and two carrots (again halve them if they’re big). Add to the boiling potatoes for about 3 minutes. Turn the heat off. Put the carrots and parsnips aside while you shuffle the potatoes around in the pan so the outside of the potatoes are a bit mashed up. This is this bit that will get really crispy. Bang them all on the tray with some more crushed garlic, rosemary and olive oil, salt and pepper. Put this in the oven when you have about 30 minutes to go on the chicken on the top shelf.

Braised Cabbage: Slice 1/4 of a cabbage into thin strips (I usually just roll up the leaves and chop them). Pour a bit of olive oil and saute a finely chopped strip of bacon. Add a glug of white wine and a knob of butter and a table spoon of Worscestershire sauce. Add the cabbage, cover and turn the heat down to braise for about 6-7 minutes.

Real gravy: I love gravy! I drink it. I sometimes eat roasts with a spoon so I can get more gravy on it. When we go to Josh’s family for dinner, he usually says ‘don’t drink it all up’ when he passes me the gravy and I have to restrain myself from dumping the whole lot on my plate. Once you’re done with your roast, take out the tray and place the chicken aside to rest covered in foil. Your tray should now have mushy onion and carrots and roasting juicesand fat (some celery would be nice but there is none). Very important: skim off as fat much as possible otherwise your gravy ends up being too fatty.

Bung the roasting tray on the stove and add 2 cups of water and bring to boil. I also splash in a bit of white wine (hen’s night leftovers. I’m really not a wine person) and crumble in a vegetable stock cube. Try to mash into the carrots and onions to get as much flavour out of it as possible. Add 2 tablespoons of plain flour and stir until the gravy thickens and the flour is cooked (about 2 minutes). Turn off the heat and sieve off all the veggies and any lump of flour. That’s it. Best gravy ever.

Plate them all up. Bon Appétit.

Jamie Oliver is god. I worship him. End of public announcement.
** It’s probably better to take the chicken out of the fridge and leave it outside to bring it up to the room temperature before you cook it. In Melbourne weather, this is about 1/2 hour. In Singapore, this is about 10 minutes. Don’t do leave it out too long if you live in a really warm place (but then you’ll probably not be making roasts if you live somewhere really warm anyway). Do not refreeze/refridgerate this chicken. You must cook it.
*** I learn that you prick the lemon too much, the chicken ends up with a lot of lemon juice inside it and steamed rather than roasted.

PS: We did the following with the leftover roast chicken:

  1. Chicken, cheese  and salad sandwich – cold chicken, Colby cheese slice, tomato, rocket, lettuce, raddichio on Turkish bread roll.
  2. Chicken roll – hot chicken, hot gravy in warm Turkish bread roll.
  3. Tossed into Leftover Curry Briyani (story for another day).

Edit: who noticed the sad potato?