For thirteen years I was a fully fledged vegetarian. And then I came home from a raucous night out, shoved a sausage roll into my gob and faster than you can say McDonald’s, I was a meat eater again.
A meat eater who couldn’t touch raw meat. A meat eater who only ever ate meat her Mummy cooked and a meat eater who still only ever really eats vegetarian fare in restaurants. And then I grew up and decided life would be lovelier if I could stomach roast chicken warm from my own oven.
So I bought a Marks and Spencer’s chicken that you roast in a plastic bag (I know!!), and nearly poisoned myself. Then I started buying chickens that came equipped with their own little tray and didn’t require any flesh (mine) to flesh (the chickens) contact and yes they meant Sunday roast was a possibility but culinary perfection they certainly weren’t. And it was then that I got brave and started buying chickens that needed a little manhandling. Chickens that required hands stuffed up their bottoms and didn’t come decorated with grazed knees and abscesses. Chicken I would roast in foil for a good hour and then remove the foil to colour for the remaining time. Salty, scrumptiously juicy chickens that were close to my definition of yummy, but sadly not quite there, certain as I always am that the rest of the world know culinary and literary secrets they have unanimously decided to keep secret from me.
Such as:- you are supposed to turn a chicken so it’s lying on both sides and once on its breast while it roasts. You knew that didn’t you? Why didn’t you tell me? Was it fair to leave me to figure it out myself? To leave it to serendipity that I would eventually discover Marcus Wareing’s recipe for chicken perfection and swoon in mouth watering delight as I pulled golden brown skin away from juicy, firm flesh?
Try it yourself:
" For juicy, melt in the mouth chicken, you need to turn the bird over several times and baste it well during roasting. This helps the heat penetrate evenly and makes the meat moist.
After the chicken has been roasting for half an hour and the skin on the breast is nicely coloured and crisp, turn the bird on to one of it’s sides (prop it up on roasting potatoes/vegetables) and baste well. Roast for ten minutes, then turn the bird on to it’s other side. Baste and return to the oven for another ten minutes. Now turn the chicken over on to it’s breast, so the back is facing up, and baste well. Return to the oven to roast for another ten minutes. Finally sit the bird breast side up and roast for the remaining time."
Said Marcus. Et voila! Comfort food supreme.