Nigella's Infamous Roast Chicken Recipe
While we're on the subject of Nigella Lawson, the woman cannot stop banging on about roast chicken. And she cheerfully admits it herself (that and rhubarb, peas and marsala!). The other day I was in the mood and though I've tried many a roast chicken recipe, they are often fiddly - turn breast side down for half an hour then roll again, slice the legs, cut off the drumsticks and put them back in on their own ... etc etc. This looked very easy - ridiculously simple. I doubted it would work, but I gave the Roast Chicken Poster Girl's version a go. And, ridiculously, it worked.
It is simplicity itself - a whole chicken at room temp. Slather on some butter, drizzle on some oil and sprinkle on some salt (in Nigella-world, salt = Maldon and rightly so). Oh, and a lemon in the cavity. I don't use the zest of citrus unless it's organic, so I cut the pith and peel off these, cut them in half and bunged them in. One chicken takes around 1 1/4 hours, with fifteen minutes for resting. I have adopted another of Nigella's suggestions, which is to roast 2 at once and this takes around 2 hours.
The thighs ARE cooked, the breast meat is NOT too dry, it all seems ludricrous, given the lack of basting and turning, but there you go. Sometimes women in twin sets do know what they're suggestively suggesting ... and the sauce is absolutely delicious.
For a slightly spicier variation a week later (see, it's gone straight to the pool room - sorry, repetoire!), I added some Nando's hot peri peri sauce to the chickens. And about a kilo of julienned carrots went into the dish to roast alongside the chooks. While they were resting, I tossed a packet of Asian egg noodles in with the sauce and carrots and put the dish back into the oven for another 10 minutes, to warm and crisp on top. The noodles were a great addition, but I must warn you to go carefully with them - they soak up all those chickeny, fat-loaded juices and half an hour after eating, a certain someone was rolling around on the couch groaning "why did I eat so much?". But the beauty of the double chicken roast is that there are plenty of leftovers for chicken sandwiches and soup the next day. And no one glares as a drumstick is snapped up, because there are still another three to be eaten. Plenty of food and very easy. I suppose that's the Nigella way. Now I just have to find a cardigan and practise saying "deep, deep, pleasure"*. Humph.
* this is a quote from one of the early tv series - I suspect Nigella Bites. Figman always says it mockingly when I mention the N-word because he thinks she became more about the "come-hither" and less about the food as the shows went on. And he couldn't stand the constant out-of-focus shots blurring all over the place. But he has never turned his precious nose up at anything I've cooked from her books.