Tuesday, November 14, 2006


A British "Sunday roast" is not a meal that appeals to me, or ever has. But I do like this way of roasting chicken: it is a recipe I have evolved over the years and it is a mixture of Greek, French and Italian ideas, the Sicilian touch being the addition of oranges and that is my excuse for including the recipe here. I get some funny looks at the butcher's when I say that I want my chicken left whole [only without the head, with which it is usually displayed here] as Italians don't go in for roasts. I get the same look if I say I want a chicken breast left whole, not cut a filetti as the Italian women like it. Sometimes it takes ages to get served in the butcher's, especially at the weekend, as the Italians [and there are almost always as many men as women in the shop, an indication of the importance of choosing good food here] buy so many different types of meat and it all has to be done a filetti. Then they want their amazing lengths of sausage as well. I pass the time by trying to guess just how many people each customer can be planning to feed! A recent poll showed that the gathering together of the whole family for Sunday lunch is still a respected tradition in Italy.
Here is the recipe for my Mediterranean Chicken:
Fill the chicken cavity with a lemon cut into quarters, 2 or 3 unpeeled cloves of garlic and fresh herbs of your choice. I especially like to use a sprig of lavender if I have it, and usually put in some sage, parsley, a bay leaf, oregano [which can be used dried], a little basil, rosemary and thyme, plus lemon balm if available but use whatever you have and like. Sprinkle the cavity with seasalt and black pepper, then secure it closed with cocktail sticks or wooden skewers. Next rub the outside of the chicken all over with fine seasalt and sprinkle over some chopped rosemary. [Some will fall off but it doesn't matter.] Then brown the chicken on all sides in 2 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil. [I use a wok for this.] Transfer the chicken to a roasting pan and pour the oil over it, together with any bits of salt and rosemary that you have scraped out. Roast the chicken for 40 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 180 C. Meanwhile, slice some old potatoes [don't bother to peel them] and sprinkle some black pepper and thyme over them. Slice 1 or 2 oranges. When the 40 minutes are up, baste the chicken, then add the potatoes and orange slices to the tin, turning them in the oil. I usually add a tablespoon more of oil at this stage. Roast it all for about another hour, basting every 15 minutes. Carve the chicken, lift the potatoes and orange slices out with a slotted spoon and serve. You need only a salad to accompany this. Both the chicken and the potatoes taste good cold the next day and I use the carcass to make stock.


Anonymous said...

The recipe sounds delicious, but we seldom eat chicken, except for chicken breast filets. Neither my wife or I are much for cooking. Perhaps if we would have had children, it would be different.

Anonymous said...

I shall certainly give it a try, it sounds scrummy,. I can already recommend Welshcake Limoncello's mushroom rissotto.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Steve. I don't have children or a partner but my mother always told me it was important to cook well for myself, otherwise, she said, I'd be unable to entertain well when the occasion arose! - That wouldn't happen to you two, as you have each other, but I do think it's something that a single person has to be aware of. Once a friend in Wales asked me, "You bother to cook when you're on your own??!" and my response was, "I'm worth it". Quite apart from that, I just love experimenting with new recipes. Glad the risotto worked, Ellee, and glad you like the sound of this one! Do give it a try.

Ballpoint Wren said...

Ooh, Pat, I'm going to try it this week. Only I always cook two chickens. The boys eat like you would not believe!


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