Chicken fillets are grand when you don’t have the time/patience to do a roast but using a roast just brings so much more to any dish. It also works out much cheaper, currently you can pick up a fresh chicken for €3 – €5 euro and it will provide enough meat for about 4/6 servings.
1 Fresh Chicken
3 Garlic Cloves
Sea Salt / Pepper
1. Start by turning on the oven at 190 degrees celsius and place the chicken in the roaster or on a tray. (For any meat if possible, leave it outside the fridge to take the chill out an hour or so before you want to cook) I like to apply the olive oil using a pastry brush, I find you don’t need as much and it’s great for making sure you are covering the entire chicken.
2. Cut the onion into 4, and place 2 inside the cavity, then break up the remaining 2 and scatter around the chicken (this adds flavours to the juices and they can then be used to baste the chicken during cooking and added to soup/gravy afterwards to give them a lift). With the garlic I dice up into quarters and place some inside and again scatter the rest. The same goes for the tomatoes and then grind salt and pepper. Fresh basil leaves can now be added, I like to place again, some inside the cavity and then on top of the chicken itself, giving the skin and meat a lovely fresh taste.
3. Place the chicken in the oven, based on a 1300g chicken, cooking time is about 90mins. I like to leave it cook for the first 45mins, then baste regularly. If using a tray it can be a good idea to turn the chicken upside down after about an hour. This makes sure you get a nice all round crispy skin and also allows the juices to sit on the inside of the breast making it more succulent. Do however turn the chicken the right way up for about the final 10mins to crisp up the breast skin.
4. You know the chicken is ready when the juices are running clear and the thigh can be easily pried away from the body. Once the chicken is removed from the oven, place on the counter and allow to rest for about 10mins. As tempting as it is, try to leave the skin on until the chicken has rested, if you remove it to soon you will see all the moisture steam out of the chicken. By leaving the skin on for the last little bit, it makes sure you keep the meat succulent. Believe me though, it’s harder than it looks to resist! (Also, if you have used the main oven, the smaller oven above will often become warm from the heat below, you can place the chicken in here to rest and keep warm for longer)
I then start to pick the meat, separating it into two breasts and dark meat. For me, the dark meat has the most flavour and is fantastic when used in some upcoming recipes. I then use the remaining bones and other bits for making a soup stock, which I may cover in a future post.
Enjoy!You can find other recipes on my blog, Food Ninja at www.imafrickinninja.com.