Monday, September 28, 2015

The Magic of Slow Roasting Chicken and the beauty of chili and garlic

 The Magic of Slow Roasting Chicken 

and the beauty of Chili and Garlic 

The Roast with Butter 

I am  inspired everyday. Sometimes it can be from a book, sometimes a movie, sometimes from the pages of Vogue or Elle , from icons . If you look around there is inspiration in every nook and cranny of this world.

Anyone who is close to me would know that my favourite way to unwind is to visit the fresh markets. The variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and the array of spices and pulses gets me all excited and then there is the new way to unwind by indulging in some yoga.

Anyway ever since the vegetable vendor I am loyal to taught me to wrap herbs in cloth and then store in the refrigerator I have had fresh green herbs for 2 weeks at a stretch.

Last week I was determined to use the beautiful green rosemary and since it was a mundane weekday I decided to make a roast.

Ripe red chilies  always cheer me up 

There are things that make me happy just by looking at them. It could the seasonal fresh fruits , fresh vegetables but then there are some ingredients which makes me feel extra happy and ripe red chilies remind of a beautiful shade of red lipstick always a sure way to pick up a girl. I did go to the market which is a few seconds away from my home for some chicken when I spotted a few ripe red chilies sticking out from a pile of green chilies. I requested the vegetable seller to pick out the ripe red chilies for me and I immediately knew what I wanted to do with my roast.

One of the reasons I like the Mediterranean coast is because of its wide array of flavours. While Italy can boast of its own unique flavours Moroccan cuisine is much closer to home. The use of cumin and coriander gets me all excited. Anyway I took my recipe's inspiration from the Mediterranean , included a bit of heat from the chili but the flavours as delicious as they were came second to this technique which I finally tried and am sticking to.

About 3 years ago while looking for ideas of roast chicken I had come across this French blog which caught my attention because unlike most recipes for roast chicken it recommended slow roasting the chicken at a low temperature for a long time.

The Roast with Olive Oil and Herbs 

So I finally decided to give it a try. Some of the articles suggested roasting the chicken at 120 C for 3 hours. I gave it a shot at 140 C for 2.5 hours. It was the best roast I have made or had. The breast was at its juicy succulent best and never again am I not slow roasting meat

4 to 5 medium sized cloves of garlic
4 to 5 ripe red chili
5 to 6 stuffed olives
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4th tsp roasted ground coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp salt

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Whole chicken with skin (It weighed 1.6 kilogram with feathers) so it would roughly be about 1.2 to 1.3 kilogram when cooking it.

I preheated the oven at 140C for 15 minutes and slow roasted the chicken at 140 C for 2 hours 10 minutes.

Then this other day I had a craving for some buttery chili garlic roast and so here is another way to make hot garlicky roast which is so buttery and for me butter makes everything better

This was even more basic

The chicken with wings was 1.4 kilogram
17gm garlic
40gm butter
7 to 8 ripe red chilies
Salt as per taste

I roasted it at 120C for 3 hours and the result was exceptionally good but quite honestly the chicken was just as succulent when roasted at 140C.

Here are a few tips I most definitely follow when roasting chicken :-

  1. I always wash clean and pat dry chicken with a soft cloth 
  2. Trussing the chicken is important. This helps keep the chicken breast moist 
  3. I always use the dry brine the chicken 
  4. This is a most recent learning and its the holy grail of roasting for me. Always slow roast and the moistness will amaze you. (140C or 120C) 
  5. Rest meat . This is extremely important. 
  6. The dripping that you collect is simply amazing. Use it to make a gravy or keep it and use it for other dishes . If storing it use within 2 days to 3 days. 
  7. I roast the chicken breast down for the first 1 hour and then turn it on one side for 15 minutes each and for the remaining time its breast side up during the last stage of roasting. 
  8. Dont forget to baste the chicken. First use a bit of butter then you will have enough roasting dripping. I use a brush for this. I baste it every 30 minutes for the first 1.5 hours and then every 10 minutes. 
So my final verdict is while butter is always a winner it did not fail this time but the other one can hold its own with the lovely blend of spices and herbs. So frankly speaking I would be recreating both these dishes again and again. 

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