25 July 2011

Happiness is .. Pot Roasting a Chicken.

You'll all know that I’ve not been very well for the last few days, which is why you haven’t heard from me recently.  As I've said in my last blog post, this caused a bit of an upset in the menu planning line.  However, one dish that very definitely made it to fruition was the Pot Roast Chicken we had for dinner last Sunday.
I really love cooking pot-roast chicken.  There’s something so homely and comforting about having a chicken chuckling in a stock pot on your cooker.  I think it’s also the smell of the herbs and vegetables that go to make up the stock ingredients, combined with the knowledge that the chicken will emerge from its bath both subtly flavoured and succulent. 
I always roast the chicken for a half hour at 200deg prior to dunking it into its bath of gorgeous stock ingredients.  I think it imparts some of the “roasted chicken” flavour without resulting in the sulphurous effect that can be brought about by just roasting alone.
For the stock, you can use anything you like - carrot, any type of herb you have handy, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, the choices are endless.  I used what I had at the time, which was onions, garlic, celery, thyme, parsley, basil, black peppercorns and included a star anise for that lovely and very distinctive flavour it imparts.  The smell, as the chicken cooked, just improved as the 90 minutes (it was a big chicken!) went on.
Once the cooking time is up, I remove the chicken from the stock and place it on a plate, swathed in silver foil, to keep warm and just rest.  I could do with a bit of a lie down when I come out of the bath sometimes, so why should my chicken be any different?  I just don’t indulge in the silver foil for myself, you understand – although it is an idea, especially on a cold day.
Getting back to the chicken, after removing some stock to make the gravy with – it makes superb gravy - the stock is strained and allowed to cool before freezing.  I can thoroughly recommend Ramen noodles made with your own chicken stock, as a lovely mid-week lunch!
I served the first half of our chicken with some steamed Jersey Royals, roast parsnips, broccoli and carrots, plus some sausage meat balls that I'd made.  Unfortunately they didn't really work, as we couldn't get the butcher's sausages that I was originally intending to use - and the Tesco's substitutes just didn't compare, being all pasty and pappily nasty.  I'll have another go at those for the next chicken, but make sure I get some good quality sausagemeat, this time!

POT ROAST CHICKEN (Serves 6 - or two separate dinners, for 3, one hot/one cold).

Ingredients :

A chicken, minus giblets and trussing string
a tbsp of olive oil
salt & black pepper
herbs of your choice
stock ingredients of your choice, but must include : an onion, a garlic clove, two sticks of celery and a handful of parsley.  After that, it's up to you.
Enough water to fill your saucepan or stock pot.
Method :
1.  Pre-heat the oven to 200degC.
2.  Taking a suitably sized roasting tin or dish, place the chicken inside and pour over it the olive oil, season with the salt and pepper and add whatever herbs you've decided to use, to add to the flavour and aromatics.  I like thyme, rosemary and lemon - at this stage.
3.  Place the chicken into the oven to roast for 30mins - 45 mins depending on the size.  I like to see the top of the chicken has become golden and crispy, before removing from the oven.
4.  When the time is up, remove the chicken from the oven and place it into a large saucepan or stock pot.  Add the juices from the roasting pan, plus the vegetables and herbs, packing them in around the sides and remember to season again.
5.  Fill the saucepan with water to the point where the top of the chicken is just about to be submerged - but not quite.  Place on the heat and wait for the liquid to boil.
6.  Once boiling, reduce the heat to the minimum required to keep the liquid simmering very gently.
7.  Cook in this way (with a lid on) for the next 60-90 mins (again, depending on the size).  I think it is fairly difficult to overcook a chicken this way, but do the classic "looking for pinkness" test when you remove the chicken from the stock, just to be sure that your chicken isn't undercooked.
8.  Once the cooking time is up, remove the chicken from the stock (as above) and place on a plate.  Swathe it in silver foil and leave in a warm place for it to rest.
9.  In the meantime, put the stock through a sieve and remove enough of the stock to make a delicious gravy with.  The remainder can be set aside to cool, after which it can be frozen for use in a multitude of ways.
Serve your chicken!


  1. Arrrrrh! Tesco...I still shudder at the name.....
    But, that's another story....! :(
    Just got in from the Veterinary, couple of fillings, that's all. Dentist.....!!!! No!

    Ah! the chicken pot roast, looks really lovely, sitting quietly on the plate there, 'Good enough to eat'. And, totally agree, the gravy from a dish like this is superb.
    And, l love chicken. Especially chicken Cacciatora, though l do make it with rabbit these days, as l get so many of them. Great dish...Hot or cold....!

    I watched a couple of Rick Steins, old 'Fresh Food' on Good Food, last night...
    Laugh....He went to a school of 4-5yr old's, a Mum was teaching them cooking skills, mixing and stirring etc...There was about 8-9 kids.
    He asked them if they knew where pasta came from.
    One little girl said "From God". So, Rick said, "How does God get it to earth" she said "He packs it in boxes, and sends it to the Supermarket"....Lovely.....But, the way she said it, was great. But, most of the kids did say, supermarket...! :).

  2. My hubby will vouch for the fact that, if I can possibly avoid going to Tesco, then I will. It's something to do with the way the shop smells, the appalling value -v- price and the rickety old disability trolleys. lol

  3. Hope you are feeling better Jenny! This pot roast chicken certainly looks like food that soothes the body and soul. :)

  4. Short of Shepherd's Pie, Chris, I think it's one of the few that do! :)


I love to receive messages from you all, so if you can spare the time, comment away!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...