An Easter chicken

April 5, 2010

London at Easter is surprisingly quiet, and actually becomes pretty enjoyable for the rest of us who haven’t fled to damp cottages in Cornwall or are stuck at Heathrow airport with increasingly grumpy families.

So, after working up an appetite with a long walk along the Thames yesterday, I came home to cook a large roast chicken, which I bought on Saturday at Wyndham’s in Borough Market. They sell a wonderful free-range chicken called Label Anglais, and although it’s not cheap, it’s absolutely worth splashing out on every now and then.

Wyndham’s also gave me a bag of giblets (see pic below), and, as a long weekend off work is just an open invitation for me to cook even more, I made the effort to make some chicken stock, which is now in the freezer for a quick soupy supper later in the week.

I’ll often rub the skin of my chickens with something spicy, but as the weather here is actually resembling spring at long last, I decided to stick with some fresh, herby flavours. So, into the chicken cavity I put a quartered red onion, three or four squished cloves of garlic and plenty of fresh thyme.

As always, I used my trusty chicken clay pot to cook it in. As I’ve mentioned before, the advantage of using the clay pot is that it retains loads of moisture, so keeps the meat really tender.

I also do a little trick that the food editor at the magazine where I work told me about. I cook the chicken upside down for the first half of the cooking time, which means all the juices flow into the breasts. Then, for the last 20 minutes or so, I turn the bird the right way up, and continue cooking wthout the lid on the clay pot, to crisp up the skin a bit.

So, dinner was delicious, juicy roast chicken with mashed potatoes and braised spring greens and peas. Inevitably, there was plenty left over, so I bagged the meat up into convenient little portions and stuck it in the freezer for future lunches and suppers.

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3 Responses to “An Easter chicken”

  1. Christina Says:

    Looks absolutely wonderful!! I love roast chicken and mashed potatoes.


  2. It’s just the best thing, isn’t it Christina!
    When I was a kid, my dad would make patties out of leftover mashed potatoes, then fry them for me and my sister for breakfast. With a bit of bacon on the side, it is quite possibly the best breakfast ever.

  3. jasnieres Says:

    I seem to remember, when I was using the chicken crock, that I also turned the chicken over half way.
    In fact, it is a good idea with conventionally roasted fowl.
    Also, I used to wrap the chicken in greased-proof paper and – I think, but don’t quote me on this – that was how it crisped up.
    Anyway, you could experiment.


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