Serves 4 – 6
This is a simplified adaption of Heston Blumenthal’s roast chook in “In search of perfection”, have a read if you want to do a really complex (and great) version
Large Inglewood Organic Chicken
100g unsalted butter
2-3 tablespoons veg oil
2 sprigs tarragon
1 teaspoon dried lavender
1 teaspoon cracked white pepper
1 lemon, sliced in half
3 dutch cream potatoes (or any slightly waxy spud..desiree would do)
Use a large pot/bucket and measure how much water you need to cover a chicken. Then measure 8% of that volume in salt and add this to 500ml of the water in a saucepan, stirring over heat to dissolve the salt.
When salt is dissolved take it off the heat and bay leaf, tarragon, lavender, lemon and pepper, then add this strong brine mixture back into the water in the large pot cool completely.
Truss the chicken together, to pull the whole chicken to a plump shape, and to give you a long string handle to help you handle the chicken later in the preparation. Place the chicken in this pot of brine, cover and place in the fridge for 6 hours.
Remove the chicken, discard the brine and wash the chicken well. Discard water and fill pot with fresh water and bring to the boil.
Prepare a large bowl or sink with ice and water.
Dip the chicken in the boiling pot for 30 seconds and plunge into iced water.
Dip into boiling water again and back into iced water.
You are trying to get the skin to ‘pucker up’.
Dry with paper towel and place on a rack with a tray beneath and cover loosely with muslin cloth. Refrigerate overnight.
Heat the oven to 90C. Place chicken on a lightly oiled roasting tray, and cook until the internal temperature of the bird reaches 65C in the thigh crease, and the juices run clear. This will take 4-6 hours and the chicken will still be pale. When it is ready, boost the oven to 200C and brown the chicken for 10 minutes.
Note this internal temperature is only safe for poultry because the extended cooking time ensures bacteria thermal death is achieved, it is NOT an ideal core temperature if you are doing a quick very hot oven roast chicken. Ensure your oven and internal thermometer temperatures are accurate and that the chicken is very fresh, that scrupulous hygiene and refrigeration temperature control is observed during the brining, blanching, ice refreshing and overnight drying out of the bird.
Remove and rest, upside down for 1 hour. Detruss the chicken.
Carve and serve with roasted potatoes.
Cut the potatoes into thick wedges, and boil in hot water till they are just about to bust apart. Drain and dry really well then toss in extra virgin olive oil and place on a roasting tray and roast in the oven at 180C till crisp and brown.