Tuesday 17 December 2013


25th December, Christmas Day is just around the corner. It is such a beautiful time of the year to connect and celebrate with friends and family. People are rushing about doing their last minute shopping, tinsel and lights adorn the malls and homes everywhere, it is nothing unusual, it is just about Christmas!
It is this special time of the year when everybody irrespective of their age love to give and receive gifts. Last few weekends have been really busy shopping Christmas presents for our little ones. Finally that bit is over. The Christmas Tree is all decked up, the electric lights are up on the patio , the presents have been wrapped and kept ready. So we are pretty much set for this festive season. It is a week long break till the new years so looking forward to some quality family time together.
As Christmas rolls around, more than just decorations though, it is also about celebration of food of different kinds. Starting from traditional roasts, grilled prawns to puddings and many more. It is never too early to plan your special Christmas lunch menu. So today's post is about one such recipe. If you would like to try out something special this Christmas try this Roast Chicken. This was our Christmas Day Lunch last year. It is a very simple and easy  recipe to follow.
So, lets take a look at the recipe.
You will need :
  • 1 whole Chicken, skin on medium size
  • Olive Oil for basting (3-4 tablespoon)
  • 2-3 tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • Butter 6 small cubes
  • Lemon slices 6 nos
  • garlic cloves, peeled 3-4
For Stuffing you will need :
  • 1 cup mushroom (medium button or swish brown), sliced
  • 1 cup Sultanas
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes( see notes at the end of the recipe)
  • 6-7 Basil leaves
  • 1/2 small cup walnuts
  • Butter, 2 tablespoon
  • 3-4 spring onions chopped 
  • 2-3 garlic cloves finely chopped or grated.
  • 1/2 cup good quality bread crumb
  • 1 egg
For the Gravy
  • 1 stick of celery, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • handful of chopped coriander
  • enough water, or chicken stock to cover  atleast three-fourth of the chicken.
Step 1
PREHEAT OVEN at 250 degrees.
Step 2
Firstly, chuck off the chickens bottom and the loose fatty skin around the area, just as shown  in the picture below. You will also need to clean the cavity. Once done, gently rinse the bird under very thin stream of running water,  pat dry with a kitchen towel and place the bird on a baking dish, breast side up. Tie the legs with a kitchen string. This will help the bird to retain it's shape even after roasting.
Step 3
In a bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Do a taste test and add more seasoning of salt if needed. Baste this mixture very well with a brush all over the bird. Loosen the skin on top  with your  finger tip and brush the oil under the skin all over including the leg and thigh areas. Cover with a cling film and let it rest till you get the stuffing ready.
Step 4
  • heat butter in a frying pan and add chopped garlic and spring onion.
  •  Once the spring onion starts to soften add the mushrooms. Cook till the mushrooms change colour
  • Add the walnuts, sundried tomatoes, basil and cook for another 5-6 mins. Season with very little salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down.
  • Put the mixture in to the food processor and turn on pulse in order to  slightly crumble the nut mixture. The idea here is to lightly crush the walnut while leaving a few chunky bits. We do not want a smooth paste here. Your blender on low speed is also good enough to do this job. Transfer into a large bowl.
Step 5
  • To the above add the sultanas, bread crumb and egg and combine well. Stuff this mixture into the chicken's cavity by pushing towards the neck cavity. (see notes at the end of the recipe)
 Step 6
  • Slide in 2 slices of lemon, 1 garlic clove  and 2 cubes of butter, each under the skin on the breast area and both the drumsticks, as shown in the picture. Let the chicken rest in a baking dish breast side up. 
Step 7
  • Throw in coriander, celery, half a lemon into the baking dish. Pour enough water or chicken stock  to cover three-fourth of the chicken. If you want you may even use chicken stock cubes to add to hot water. Once the cube dissolves in water pour into the baking dish. 
  • Slide into the oven at 210 degrees for about 90 mins. Keep checking  at regular interval. In case  you see the stock drying out too much add more water or stock. Once the skin looks crispy and golden brown it means your chicken is done. To check insert a sharp knife into the thickest portion of the thigh- the juices should run clear.
So after about 90 mins, Voila!!  Use oven gloves to carefully remove chicken from the oven. Place dish on a placement mat away from the kid's reach. Cover with double layer of aluminium foil and let the meat rest for about 15-20 mins. 
Carving the Roast Chicken
After 15-20 mins or so transfer the bird on a big enough serving platter or a clean cutting board. Remove the strings and discard.
  • You will need a large  surface area to carve the meat. Portion the chicken by cutting through the skin and the joint in between the thigh and the drumstick. Pull the leg away from the body and cut through the joint. Repeat on the other side.
  • Similarly pull the wings away from the bird and cut through the joint closer to the breast.
  • Repeat for the other wing.
  • Using the tip of a  sharp knife cut along the breast in between the legs into half. Working from the tail end of the bird and moving up towards the wing end.  
  • Slice the meat as required

 Now for the Gravy
  • discard the celery stick and squeeze the lemon gently into the left over gravy in the dish.
  • pour the gravy into a gravy boat and serve along side the chicken. 
  • Serve your roast chicken with fresh lemon wedges and salad of your choice.
Any left over meat can be frozen to be used later in sandwiches, soups, rice, noodles, what ever you like. I hope this Christmas brings in a lot of joy and happiness and you have a wonderful time with your near and dear ones!
If you do not have sundried tomatoes, try adding 1-2 roasted red capsicum . Just coat a whole red capsicum with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for about 15 mins or until cooked through. you will know when the skin starts to peel off it is done. Remove from oven and allow time to cool down. Then peel off  the skin, discard any seeds, roughly tear and add to the stuffing mixture at step 5.


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With Care

EAT as you LIKE..

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