17:10 | Posted by Nim Headland | Category

Nigel Slater's Roast Chicken with Basil and Lemon.

I am a little bit in love with Nigel Slater, his recipes are consistently brilliant and he writes like a dream. This is from his book Real Food, which is probably one of the best cook books ever written. This recipe is as he wrote it.

Serves 2 (it served three of us!)

6 free range chicken pieces, bone in.
Olive oil, good quality and fruity.
2 juicy cloves of garlic
A lemon
A large handful of basil, about 30 leaves.
A wine glass of white wine.

Season the chicken and out the pieces in a roasting tin. Pour over enough olive oil to moisten them and make a shallow pool in the tin. Squash the garlic in it's skin and tuck in with the chicken. Squeeze the lemon over the chicken and drop the empty shells in too. Roast for 30 mins in an oven preheated to 200oC/Gas 6, then tear up the basil leaves and toss them about a bit with the chicken. Return to the oven for 10 mins. Remove from the oven, pour the wine over the chicken, then put the roasting tin over a hot flame and let the wine bubble for a minute.

This was a lovely summery recipe, but next time I would use a little less olive oil and make sure it is really fine quality. My finished dish was very oily and a little cloying due to rubbishy supermarket oil, which covered up the lemon flavours instead of enhancing them like a really good, fruity oil would. I served this with a dark salad to mop up the pan juices (I served them in a jug as a gravy) and roast potatoes.

I have always been a bit intimidated by roast potatoes. I am VERY fussy about them. Both my parents make the perfect roasties. Soft, fluffy insides with a rough, crunchy, deeply satisfying golden outer. They are so perfect that I won't eat them anywhere else, I never order them in restuarants because they are always disappointing. For this reason, I have never attempted them myself, I'll occasionally saute a few in a pan as a (poor) subsitute. But on this occasion I bit the bullet and had a go. Hallelujah! They were perfect! I have the roast potato gene, blessed relief. Here's how I did it.

The first thing you need to think about is your potato. Not all spuds are created equal, oh no. The undisputed king of roasties is the Maris Piper. Accept no substitutes. In the summer months when Maris are unavaliable, eat only new potatoes, never roasts, unless you can get your hands on a new potato called Sharp's Express. These are usless as a new potato as they crumble to nothingness with only brief cooking. We had a whole bed of them in our veg garden, so in dispair, we roasted them. They were BEAUTIFUL. Right, here's the recipe finally.

I put a tin of olive oil in when I turned my oven to 200oC to preheat. While this was happening, I peeled and chopped 4 Maris Piper potatoes into odd, angular shapes, getting as many corners as I could. Then I put them in a saucepan of water and bought them to the boil, allowing them to par-boil for about 8 mins. I then drained them, returned them to the saucepan and shook the bejesus out of them to really rough up the edges. (Here's where your plan will fail if they are overcooked, you will have to start again!) I had a wooden board and some oven gloves ready so I could get my hot-oil roasting tin out and back in quickly. I tipped the potatoes into the tin, standing well back as they sizzled and spat. I returned them to the oven and shut the door as fast as possible. Half and hour to 40 mins later, I had perfect, crunchy, glorious roasties. And I am totally smug about it. Enjoy!


joyknitt said...

hiya, nimlet, lovely grub yet again. I have just joined this group http://soaperstar.blogspot.com/2010/04/welcome-to-creationcollaborations-1st.html#comment-form
you might like to join too, it will get you into the loop and give you lots of followers, and might even lead on to greater things, who knows?
joy xx

joyknitt said...

oh, I see the link didn't come out properly, too long, I'll send to you via facebook message xx

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