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Taste of Home: Roast chicken

BY Liz Cottam

23rd Aug 2022 Recipes

Taste of Home: Roast chicken
Restaurant owner Liz Cottam uses brine to enhance the flavours in this classic home comfort, the Sunday roast chicken and gravy
Sunday is my favourite day of the week. Growing up, it was our family’s favourite meal.
Everyone had to attend and Mum insisted on us dressing in our best outfits. These Sunday lunch memories of us all crammed around the kitchen dining table in my family’s first home take me right back there.
It’s such a comforting, happy, golden feeling that I will associate with this meal and this special day of the week forever. Come rain or hot summer shine, I always have to make Sunday lunch, and I enjoy the feeling it gives me.
This recipe includes a brine step that infuses the chicken with flavour and seasoning, but also creates the juiciest chicken possible. This isn’t essential, but I’d strongly recommend giving it a go and seeing the difference it makes.
Add lemon and red white vinegar to this roast chicken recipe for a tangy, succulent flavour

Ingredients:

  • Brined roast chicken
  • 100g sea salt flakes
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 55ml (2fl oz) red wine vinegar
  • 1.4kg (3lb) whole chicken
  • 2 lemons, 1 whole for cooking, 1 cut into wedges
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 sprigs of lemon thyme
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
  • 20g (3/4oz) softened butter
For the gravy:
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 250ml (8fl oz) hot chicken stock
  • 80g (3oz) chilled butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped tarragon
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped lemon thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic

Method:

  1. To make the brining liquid, combine one litre of water, the sea salt and the sugar in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  2. Add the vinegar. Add another one litre of cold water then pour the brine into an extra-large plastic container and allow to cool.
  3. Submerge the chicken breasts down into the brine, seal the container and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next day, remove the chicken from the brine. Discard the brine and pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper.
  5. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Pierce the lemon all over with a skewer and put into the chicken’s cavity, along with the rosemary, thyme and one half of the garlic.
  6. Put the chicken in a roasting pan, tuck in the wings and loosely truss (tie) the legs. Rub the softened butter all over the chicken and season. Put the other half of the garlic in the roasting tin.
  7. Roast for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer. If the chicken is browning too much, cover the top with foil.
  8. When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Carve the chicken and serve with mash and roasted vegetables.
Method for the gravy:
  1. To make the gravy, simmer the pan juices over a medium heat, scraping loose any caramelised bits from the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half (about four to five minutes).
  3. Add the chicken stock, herbs and garlic, and continue to simmer until reduced by two-thirds (another 10-12 minutes).
  4. Gradually add the chilled butter, a cube at a time, whisking to incorporate before adding more.
  5. Pass through a fine sieve into a gravy boat to serve.
Liz Cottam is the Chef patron and owner of HOME, CORA and The Owl in Leeds

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