I never ate a lot of chicken. My husband will testify that I never ate any chicken – one of his favourite food groups. And then, suddenly, somewhere in the second trimester of my pregnancy last year, I needed a chicken mayo sandwich immediately. Since that day, it has become a staple in our household, to the extent that I can barely remember what we used to eat BC (before chicken).
Cooking together is a ritual for the husband and I, and we’re trying to maintain this now that there’s a demanding little person in our lives. Sure, foodie compromises have been made (crumbing our own schnitzels in the middle of the week? What a bemusing concept.), and we’ve eaten more Woolies’ rotisserie chickens in the last six months than ever before.
This week, we decided to cook the cover of the current (May) issue of TASTE magazine: this no-carve lemon-and-garlic roast chicken. As a working mom (and dad) of a six-month old, a midweek roast chicken may seem like a stretch, but this recipe ticked all the right boxes:
– Minimal – and simple – prep: an absolute maximum of 15 minutes. We did this early. The husband took the reigns here while I fed the offspring his supper at the kitchen table.
– Long(er) cooking time: once prepped, the chicken goes into the oven, covered, for at least 2 hours. This gives ample(ish) time to get the child bathed, fed (again!) and put to sleep.
By “including” Max in the cooking (yes, it’s “only” the prep while he eats his dinner), we’re hoping to instil the same love of cooking and food in him. Sure, it’s early days, but he watches us in the kitchen, eats his own food and “joins in” with the banter. Whatever the outcome, it’s one of our favourite family times of the day.
(The chicken was ready just after Max went down for the night. I won’t pretend we sat at the table and had adult conversation. We collapsed on the couch with towering plates of food and watched our latest Netflix binge.)
This recipe brought up a conversation about chicken skin: the husband was concerned about the crispiness thereof. Coincidently, TASTE’s editor, Kate Wilson, discusses this very issue in her editor’s letter: one needs to commit to either the crispiest skin, or the most succulent meat. This recipe opts for the latter. For super crispy skin, use a lot of salt and don’t include any ingredients that will create steam in the oven. This does mean that the meat will be slightly drier – a small sacrifice for glorious chicken skin. For more succulent meat (as in this recipe), liquid in the oven is essential – and boy, does it work here. It is, quite literally, a roast chicken that you can carve with a spoon.
A special mention should be made for the onions. Oh, the onions! They’re the unsung hero of this dish, absorbing every single flavour and cooking slowly and sweetly.
This roast chicken is undoubtedly on our “cook again” list.
Make the no-carve chicken tonight! Get the recipe here.
How do you like your roast chicken? Crispy skin or succulent meat? Let us know in the comments below or share your sentiments with us on social media: Facebook (@wwtaste), Twitter (@wwtaste) or Instagram (@wwtaste).