I’m back in Portland for the week (and I’m spending the next few weeks in the US too, so look forward to some restaurant reviews). I’ve a couple of recipes from last week to post, and in the meantime I am applying myself assiduously to Portland’s fantastic cafés, in order that I can supply those of you who visit the city with a good round-up of places to pootle around in an intellectual fashion, getting caffeinated and taking advantage of free wireless internet.
Anyway. The chicken. This is a chicken flash-cooked at a very high temperature with a garlic butter under the skin. This technique results in a moist, juicy bird which you don’t need to baste or turn, and a gorgeously crisp, garlicky skin. The pan juices are fantastic for making a gravy with, but they’re also delicious just drizzled over the carved chicken as they are.
The cooking time below will be good for a bird weighing about 1.5kg (3lb) – enough to serve three or four people. To roast one chicken, you’ll need:
1 chicken weighing about 1.5kg
5 large, juicy cloves of garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
125 g softened salted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 230°C (450° F). Crush the garlic (I used something called a Garlic Card – a little grating device the size of a credit card which
my mother-in-law Santa gave me for Christmas), zest the lemon and chop the parsley, and blend them with the butter using the back of a fork.
Starting at the neck of the chicken, use your fingers to loosen the skin from the breast. You should be able to separate it from the flesh by pushing with your fingertips until you’ve made a pocket that covers the whole breast. Take the softened garlic butter mixture and push it into the pocket you’ve made, making sure it covers the breast evenly. Reserve two teaspoons of the butter, and push them into the space between the bird’s legs and body. Salt the outside of the bird generously and drizzle it with olive oil.
Put the chicken on a baking tray high in the hot oven, and roast for one hour. Check that the chicken is cooked by pushing a skewer into the fattest part of the bird, just behind the thigh. The juices should run clear; if they are still pinkish (which is highly unlikely), roast for another ten minutes and repeat the test.
Rest the bird for ten minutes before carving. I served this with Pommes Sarladaise, a wonderful garlicky French potato dish – watch this space for the recipe!