July 07, 2007

Enjoying Traditional Roast Chicken

Every Christmas we usually sit around the table and are enjoying every feast made for the special day. It's the thin stream of homey steam vapouring from the kitchen which makes every one of us treasure every spoonful of meals and desserts. Mum usually makes roast chicken, roast lamb, roast and steamed vegetables with a bowlful of salad which then finished with Christmas pudding, cassata, fruit salad, sherry trifle or pavlova.

At home, I usually make roast chicken or roast lamb to be served with green salad or roast vegetables, just for a change when there's been similar menu of either Indonesians or New Zealand dish on the plates. I love to tuck in sprigs of rosemary and cloves of garlic in the cavity of the chicken as I do love the fragrant of two combinations.

On my birthday lunch with Mum, Dad, and our good friends Ralph and Sue, I made this traditional roast chicken, specially cooked to contribute to Mid-Winter Christmas event hosted by fellow New Zealand bloggers Bron and Emma who are building a great teamwork to devote their time for Nihowera.

Arfi's Traditional Roast Chicken

1-2kg whole chicken, washed and trimmed, 1 lemon, 6 cloves garlic (whole and skin on) with 2 x 10cm sprigs of rosemary for the cavity, 3 cloves garlic, bruised, 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped, freshly grind of sea salt and freshly cracked of black peppercorns, 1 tsp ground paprika, 1 cup chicken stock, olive oil

Wash and trim the chicken. Brushed the chicken with lemon juice. Put the garlic and sprigs of rosemary in the cavity and throw in a good grind of sea salt and black peppercorns. Secure the cavity with a toothpick. Combine the bruised garlic, chopped rosemary, paprika, sea salt and black peppercorns with olive oil, then rubbed the mixture on the chicken. Cover with foil for an hour, breast side-up. Then pour in the chicken stock. Marinade for an overnight and turning the chicken for every 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Roast the chicken, breast side-down, covered for the first hour, then uncovered, breast side-up for the rest of the cooking time. It is depending on how hot is your oven to actually cook the chicken, but make sure you're basting the chicken every 15 minutes in the first hours to help moisten the top-side of the chicken and prevents to dry and burn it too quickly. The chicken stock will help the chicken to stay succulent by providing a lot of moisture to steam the flavour into the pores of the chicken.

When the chicken begins to brown, test if it's cooked by inserting a skewer in the thickest part. If the juice is running clear, then it's cooked. If the juice is running with a streak of blood, then expand the cooking time longer. Remove from the oven 15 minutes before the serving time and carve. Serve warm with lots of roast vegetables or a bowlful of salad. Serves 6-8.

Together with this roast chicken, Pumpkin couscous salad can be another option as a side dish to the main meal.

Couscous is the simplest staple I have ever discovered and it just often saves me the cooking time. I like to combine couscous with cubes of roast pumpkin and a great handful of basil which goes well with cumin-and-garlic-flavoured meat or fish.

I first tasted couscous at a Middle Eastern cafe which in 2001 was situated near Casa Luna in Ubud, Bali, and is now sadly replaced by a shop which sells musical CDs and others. What I can recall of that nice little cafe is that they served a huge plate of various dips with oh-so-Middle Eastern taste, like full flavoured hummus, tabouleh salad, buttered couscous, falaffel, and a large pita bread eaten with lovely and moist chicken pieces or cumin-flavoured lamb kebabs. They also had a delivery service which really helped us stay honeymooneing in the bungalow without getting uncomfortable to go out while we were enjoying being isolated ourselves from the busy roads and world outside. With a short ring for an order, then we would hear a beep of a motorbike horn in front of the gate, and with a flash, their tandoori chicken wraps could be eaten as hot as they're freshly made and they were absolutely gorgeous!

As this dish is pretty quick and simple to make, this can cut down the stress time preparing all the Christmas feast for the family and friends.

Roast Pumpkin and Couscous Salad

2 cups 'cooked' (follow the instructions in the package, I would say or you can do this: 1 cup couscous is covered with 1 ¼ cup water or chicken/vegetable stock and 2 tsp butter, stand and covered until it's puffed, then fork to separate) and buttered couscous, 1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped, 1 clove garlic, crushed, a good handful of fresh basil leaves, olive oil, 1 cup roast pumpkin cubes

Mix all the ingredients together well and give a dash of olive oil. Combine well. It's easy, isn't it?

Happy Mid-Winter/Mid-Summer Christmas 2007!

Love to you All.


elyani said...

Arfi, that looks like a beautiful and tasty meal! How about couscous with chicken or lamb curry gravy? Love your dish.

Barbara said...

It looks wonderful arfi.

Chris said...

I love your roast Chicken....then I scrolled down and saw your Pumpkin Couscous...I think I am in love! :)

Arfi Binsted said...

elyani: glad you love the dish!

barbara: how are you, barb?

chris: glad you're back!! you still got the mood from vacation, i can tell! hehehe...

Bron said...

Looks grand Arfi! Happy Mid-Winter Christmas!!

Arfi Binsted said...

Bron: same to you, my friend! hugs.

Emma said...

Arfi, this looks divine! Chicken roasted with garlic and rosemary - delicious! Thanks for entering this for our Mid-Winter feast. Look for the round up this weekend!