roast chicken and chicory with parma ham

when i sent r shopping on saturday morning with a hangover, he bought a whole chicken which the butcher jointed for him. the idea is that i freeze a couple of bits separately and roast quickly either to get lunchbox protein, or make stock or just roast for dinner. i would urge anyone to do the same – it’s so much cheaper than going to a supermarket. a whole chicken probably costs us around 7 or 8 quid and I can get 2 dinners out of it plus stock if i can be bothered.

unfortunately, r just puts the whole bag in the freezer. as a result, i can’t defrost a few pieces – it’s all or nothing. i decide to do the lot, eat roast chicken tonight and then have it for lunch tomorrow.

for 4

1 chicken, jointed into eight pieces (1.8kg in our case).
2 lemons
8 bayleaves
olive oil
small bunch of thyme

preheat the oven to 200C. place the chicken pieces in a roasting dish, then squeeze the juice from the lemons over it and tuck the quartered pieces left over around the chicken, together with the all of the bayleaves. season with salt and pepper (sea salt, if you want amazing crispy skin) and then pour over a tablespoon or so of olive oil. roast in a hot oven at 200C for an hour and ten minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. you want the juices to run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the chicken. take it out of the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

you can add garlic to this - just cut a whole garlic in half and chuck it in. i would normally do it - i just forgot last night. also, you can make the gravy out of the juice left at the bottom of the pan - there'll be loads of it. just fish out the bay leaves and garlic if using, then pour out most of the fat. squeeze as much of the juice out of the remaining lemons as you can, then thrown them away too. place over high heat and pour in half a glass of white wine, stock or just water, and let it bubble till reduced. you get a thin, citrusy gravy which i find nicer than the gloopy stuff you usually see.

for two

2 large heads of chicory (what is the plural of chicory?? chicories??), quartered if large, otherwise halved
a small knob of butter
olive oil
4 or 5 slices of parma ham (or equivalent, this was san daniele)
small bunch of thyme
100ml stock, wine or water

put a thick-bottomed pan on the hob - make sure it's the kind that can both go on the hob and in the oven. melt the butter with the oil, then place the chicory in a single layer and cook until slightly browned and beginning to caramelise. it should take around five to ten minutes. then tent it with foil and place in the oven at 200C (with the chicken) for around 45 minutes. after that time, take the foil off and place the ham on top and return to the oven for another ten minutes so the ham goes crispy.

the picture is a bit disgusting - it was an afterthought and it looked and tasted a lot better than it suggests!


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