Sunday, March 11, 2007

The ICBITE Roast Chicken. And Pumpkin Soup

I'm truly amazed how many people say "Oh, I wouldn't know how to cook a roast" - a couple of people I know have said this over the past few weeks.

This pic is a little, well, unimpressive, as I hadn't done the steamed vegies yet, so it's lacking some colour, and the plate is quite bare. But hey, it's Sunday, I've worked all week and all weekend, and I haven't slept. So nyeh, work with me.

The pic above is lemon pepper roast chicken with roasted onion, pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato and potato. I felt like a roast dinner, and when I saw marinated whole chooks at the local chicken-shop I thought "yeah, I can do that". I'm sure their's might have tasted better, but I wanted to give it a go. I used a small chook - about 1kg, as I'm the only one who'll be eating it.

What you need (for two people):
1 x 1kg whole chicken
lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
freshly cracked black pepper
2 x medium-sized washed potatoes
1 medium-large sweet potato
1 x large carrot
2kg pumpkin
cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, to steam
Vegeta gourmet stock (I prefer the original and best)

(Before you question the quantities of sweet potato, carrot and pumpkin, finish reading the blog).

Prepare a deep roasting pan (I do this by lining it with alfoil and giving that and a roasting rack a light spray with canola oil and pouring about 2 cups of water into the bottom, the water helps keep the chicken super-moist). Place the chicken on the rack. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil and pepper well and rub over the chicken. I like to tie the legs in with butchers string (found out it's INCREDIBLY hard to buy, but thankfully my local butcher gave me a metre or so of his supply). Let the chicken sit a while with the marinade while you take care of the vegies to roast. Prepare a flat oven tray by covering it with alfoil and giving it a light spray with canola oil. Switch the oven on to pre-heat to about 180C now.

Chop up the potato (I like to leave the skin on, which is why I either buy washed potatoes, or really scrub 'em good), sweet potato, carrot and pumpkin into cubes approximately an inch square (or so...). Place them all in a large freezer bag. Add a little olive oil and a few pinches of Vegeta. Leaving as much air in the bag as possible twist the top and fold it over, to make it water-tight. Gently shake the vegies around so they're coated with the oil and stock. Carefully tip onto the oven tray and spread out evenly. Throw the chicken tray on the top rack of your oven and the vege tray on the bottom rack (obviously you need to space the racks so they'll both fit). Set the timer for an hour.

Go find a book and a nice glass of something until the timer goes off. Alternatively, you can start cleaning up the kitchen.

When the time goes off up the oven to 210C for another 15 minutes. Then remove the chicken from the oven and cover with foil for it to rest. Cut up sufficient quantities of the vegies to steam. Put them in a microwave steamer container with a little water in the base and microwave until cooked (for me, in my 850W microwave, and liking them still crisp, it's 4 minutes). Dish up the potato and sufficient quantities of the carrot, sweet potato and pumpkin. Carve/pull apart the chicken carcass and dish it up. Remove the steamed vegies from the microwave and dish them up. Et voila, your very own roast dinner!

"But what about all that leftover carrot, sweet potato and pumpkin?!" I hear you cry. Bear with me kids. First, sit down and enjoy your dinner.

Pumpkin Soup
Then mash the leftover orange vegies. Slowly add a 400g can of light evaporated milk a bit at a time and mash through. Add another pinch of vegeta stock, then throw the lot into a food processor and process until smooth. Or, if you're like me and have only a stick blender, blend in batches till it's all done.

Of course, if you want to serve this as the entree you'd need to steam the required vegies while the rest is roasting, but I did this to store the stuff in the freezer for my lunches this week. Besides, I really like the flavour the roasted vegies give to the soup.

Of course I had to lick the spoon clean once I'd dolloped it into the freezer containers... very nice, if I do say so myself. When it comes to serving it I'd add a swirl of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh coriander. If I wanted to impress. But since it'll just be my lunch, I probably won't :-)

Oh, and if you're wondering what ICBITE means... "I Can't Believe It's That Easy"


thanh7580 said...

Thanks for the detailed roasting tip. I don't know how to do a roast either. I was going to try with a chicken and some beef this week or next week. I will see how the results go.

Anna said...

It really is pretty simple - and most chickens/beef you buy these days come with instructions. If you buy it from Safeway/Coles check the packaging, or if it's from the butcher ask them :-)

I usually do a beef roast -- about 40 minutes per 500g for my liking, and before it goes in I prick it and stuff garlic in the slits, then rub some olive oil and herbs into it. Yummmmmm!!! Smells fantastic as it cooks too. Decided to do the chicken as I hadn't in years.