Roasting a crisped Chicken and making a good SauceSunday, November 09, 2014
Editorial: This post was first written a year ago but it has been revised and reposted.
With Christmas round the corner, you may want to start thinking about some dishes you may want to cook.
I am not partial to roast turkey as those we have here are cooked from frozen ones. But I love roast chicken and I think it is a great fit for any home Christmas meal. I have been experimenting with the best way to come up with a tasty roast chicken and sauce which is a convenient by-product of the roasting process.
In the Origins of Gravy theory set forth by Walter Matthau in the film of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, he explained that, when you cook a roast, "it comes." This method that I use makes it convenient to retain the "it comes"and turns it into a beautiful sauce - by just using one carrot and one large white onion.
By tasty roast chicken, I am looking for a crisped flavorful skin and succulent meat (not dried out). Like Cantonese Roast Pork, the chicken skin when roasted adds flavour.
There is of course some interesting two-step processes which can give very good results i.e. steaming-roasting, sous vide-roasting. I have tried this and they do work except that they do not produce a good deeply flavored brown sauce the way a traditional roasted chicken can.
I will post my favourite method here. It may not produce a "perfect RC" but it is good enough for my dinners.
|Two Anxin birds...in pic here after they were blanched. The yellow skin is a telltale sign that|
corn is a part of it's diet
The next step is to ensure the chicken is thoroughly clean i.e the liver, inner parts are all removed. Now, this extra step is optional. But if you want to be perfectionist about this, blanch the chicken in hot water for 20 secs and then cool it in cold water. Do this 3 times. This helps to wash away some oils, scum and it also tightens the skin, makes it harder to break and easier for crisping.
Next, put it on top of a roasting rack. I prefer to use a concave rack (as you can see in the photos) which fits a roasting tray.
Pat dry the skin. Then, brush the skin with some light soy sauce or fish sauce. As Chinese chefs will know, the soy sauce helps the skin to crisp more easily. Put the tray at the top shelf of your fridge to dry the skin. You can do it overnight or for a few hours. If you do not have the time, skipping this step is fine. It is just about how crisped you want the skin to be.
Set your oven to 180ºC. Meanwhile, prepare your chicken for roasting. Slice one carrot and one large white onion and scatter the pieces evenly onto the tray. It will absorb and collect the juices from the chicken. Sprinkle some salt on the chicken. If you have thyme or rosemary, insert them into the cavity, place some on top of the chicken and some underneath the skin (do this carefully so as not to break the skin). Poke a lemon with fork and insert into the cavity. The lemon helps the interior to stay moist and the breast parts from overcooking. Poking holes is to ensure that the lemon will not burst and release all its juices during roasting. Alternatively, truss the chicken. If you don't like to do either, it is also fine.
Note that the bottom of the chicken should not be touching the vegetables so there is an empty space between them, ensuring that the whole chicken is being roasted by heat convection (heat through the air) and the bottom not made wet through direct contact with the veg.
Put the tray into the oven. The chicken should be facing down, breast meat at the bottom. Depending on the type of oven you use, you may need to rotate the chicken to ensure even roasting and to avoid burnt spots. By the 50-60 minute mark, the chicken should be beautifully roasted.
Remove and let it rest and cool down for 20 minutes. Cut off the chicken wings. Cut off the thighs. You can actually gently pull off the drumstick and thigh portion, using a pair of scissors/shearer to assist if you need to. Meanwhile, continue to plate your chicken. Slice off the breast meat, keeping some of the skin with it if you can. The backbone can be set aside or you can choose to plate it. I like to chew on it and so I will plate it.
Alternatively, you can of course serve the chicken whole on the table and let diners carve it themselves.
|The tray of one carrot and one large onion in the oil and juices from the chicken after it is roasted.|
Serve the chicken and the sauce warm. Mashed potato will go well with the chicken and sauce. Some salads for the greens is a great side too.
My family loved this roast chicken and I am sure your's will too. Now, there are further steps you can take, such as brining the chicken overnight but I will leave that to another post.
|Stick-blend the carrot, onion and juices and it will turn into a sauce emulsion.|
|There you go - a lovely sauce after it is blended and strained. |
It is just one onion, one carrot and chicken oil/juice, with
some thyme and lemon flavours
|Sliced and plated.|
|On this occasion, I roasted the chicken upright.|