Last Sunday (September 4th) was fathers day in Australia. To honour the occasion I wanted to make lunch for dad. Having just purchased a small chicken two days prior I decided to make Nigella Lawson’s Praised Chicken from Kitchen. The recipe was simple and while it has a cooking time of close to two hours, the wait was well worth it. I served the chicken with Nieglla’s Rapid Roastini.
Nigella’s Praised Chicken
I usually don’t cook with a whole chicken. I rarely make a roast (it’s lucky if I roast meat once a year). When I cook with meat I usually only include it in stir fries or curries and the occasional beef casserole or stew and recently I’ve been experimenting with Tofu instead. This was quite a big step for me.
I followed the list of the vegetables as in the recipe mainly because that’s what I actually had in my fridge. In the introduction to the chapter, Lawson mentions how easily the recipe can be adapted to suit personal tastes. Obviously had there been any fennel in the house I would have included it. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but a little obsessed with fennel.
The chicken is slightly browned in some oil for a few minutes. I cooked it for about five minutes. I wasn’t preoccupied with the presentation so I didn’t worry about how it looked. The wine is added to the pot and suddenly this wonderful aroma will engulf the kitchen. The vegetables are water are added to the pot where it cooks for 1 hour and 40 minutes and then it’s left to rest for 20 minutes. When making this again I would use vegetable stock instead of water.
The chicken when removed from the pot is slightly slimy. This could actually be my fault from adding too much oil at the start. It however tastes so wonderful. It’s moist and juicy and has absorbed the flavours of the vegetables. I would definitely make this again. I was slightly apprehensive at first but it did turn out so wonderful. Also Lawson mentions that this chicken seems to go further than roast chicken. I can attest to this, it fed four adults and there were leftovers for lunch the next day for my sister and I.
I wanted to serve the chicken with vegetables and potatoes. I thought it was the perfect time to try a recipe that piqued my interest when I first saw the series that accompanied the book. Nigella, in lieu of roast potatoes, simply fries gnocchi.
The gnocchi are fried in some olive oil until cooked. I have to say that while they don’t replace a roasted potato, they are pretty tasty. It’s a good recipe to have up your sleeve if you’re comprised for time.
Nigella Lawson’s Praised Chicken and Roasted Rostini*
- 1 large chicken, preferably organic
- 2 teaspoons garlic oil
- 100ml white wine or dry white vermouth
- 2-3 leeks, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into approx. 7cm logs
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into batons
- 1-2 sticks celery, sliced
- approx. 2 litres cold water
- 1 bouquet garni or 1 teaspoon dried herbs
- fresh parsley stalks or few sprigs, tied or banded together
- 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes or 1 teaspoon pouring salt
- 2 teaspoons red peppercorns, or good grinding pepper
- to serve:
- chopped leaves, from parsley stalks above
- chopped fresh dill
- English mustard
- Get out a large, flame-safe cooking pot (with a lid) in which the chicken can fit snugly: mine is about 28cm wide x 10cm deep.
- On a washable board, un-truss the chicken, put it breast-side down and press down until you hear the breastbone crack. (As you may imagine, I like this.) Then press down again, so that the chicken is flattened slightly. Now cut off the ankle joints below the drumstick (but keep them); I find kitchen scissors up to the task.
- Put the oil in the pan to heat, then brown the chicken for a few minutes breast-side down, and turn up the heat and turn over the chicken, tossing in the feet as you do so. Still over a vigorous heat add the wine or vermouth to the pan and let it bubble down a little before adding the leeks, carrots and celery.
- Pour in enough cold water to cover the chicken, though the very top of it may poke out, then pop in the bouquet garni or your herbs of choice, and the parsley stalks (if I have a bunch, I cut the stalks off to use here, but leave them tied in the rubber band) or parsley sprigs
- The chicken should be almost completely submerged by now and if not, do add some more cold water. You want it just about covered.
- Bring to a bubble, clamp on the lid, turn the heat to very low and leave to cook for 1½–2 hours. I tend to give it 1½ hours, or 1 hour 40 minutes, then leave it to stand with the heat off, but the lid still on, for the remaining 20–30 minutes.
- Serve the chicken and accompanying vegetables with brown basmati rice, adding a ladleful or two of liquid over each shallow bowl, as you go, and putting fresh dill and mustard on the table for the eaters to add as they wished.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 250g/9oz ready-made or leftover potato gnocchi
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan.
- When the oil is hot, put the gnocchi in, making sure you separate them as you do so, and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown.
- Turn them over and give them another 3-4 minutes on the other side, or until browned on both sides.
- Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper, then sprinkle with sea salt flakes and serve.
*Nigella Lawson, 2010. Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home. Nigella Lawson. 1st Ed. Edition. Chatto & Windus