Chicken again tonight I hear you cry!!! And what is wrong with that? Nothing at all I tell you, nothing at all. As a working mother I know how we can get stuck in a dinner rut due to time constraints and a lot of the time just plain tiredness. Days are busy and you’re rushing around maybe buzzed up on caffeine but come 5 or 6 in the evening you’re ready to collapse and the thought of cooking a dinner can be overwhelming. I know of a lady who when left to her own devices is quite happy for dinner to be a fresh baguette, some very good brie and some nicely chilled white wine. Bread, cheese and wine would be heaven but plonk that on the table in front of a clatter of kids and they’ll be banging the knives and forks in a more than mutinous fashion. Tempting as it may be to abandon ship a weekday dinner is usually dutifully and not joyfully provided.
So back to the chicken. It may sound boring however it has the makings of providing some very simple and tasty dinners and that’s what we’re often after.
Sitting at my kitchen counter perusing cookbooks as I usually do over lunch at home I poured through Clodagh McKenna’s ‘Homemade’ cookbook. It was a book that I bought for myself because I loved how lovely it looked, the beautiful layout, the sense of handcrafted design, it’s just a really good-looking book.
A roast chicken is one of the most simple meals there is to cook, simply bung it in the oven for an hour then thrown in some potatoes in their skins to bake for and additional 45 mins or so depending on size and that’s it. Supplemented with some easy cook veg like broccoli or if you want to minimise prep. work, frozen peas will be perfectly adequate to provide a nutritious tasty and simple meal that has required zero preparation.
Next time you’re doing a roast chicken I recommend that you take an additional 5 minutes (max.) to try out Clodagh McKenna’s ‘Paprika, garlic and lemon spiced chicken’ which renders a beautifully bronzed, succulent and moist chicken.
Paprika, garlic and lemon spiced chicken
You will need:
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon (I used the zest as well)
80ml of olive oil (I used Irish rapeseed)
1 tbsp paprika
Pre-heat the fan oven to 180C
Crush the garlic and combine with the other ingredients – a small jug would be ideal.
Use your hands or the back of a spoon to ease up the skin on the breast of the chicken, you’re just loosening it so that you’ll be able to pour a marinade in between the skin and the breast meat.
Tilt the chicken upright in a roasting tin so you can pour half of the marinade in-between the skin and the breast and use your hands over the skin to disperse it beneath.
Place the chicken flat and pour over the remainder of the marinade and then rub all over the bird.
Roast in the pre-heated oven, time will depend on size, I generally roast a medium/large chicken for 90 mins to 2hrs.
Two other recipes I tried from Clodagh’s ‘Homemade’ book were a couscous and chickpea salad and a delicious lemon and rocket new potato salad. I’m looking forward to trying out some of her other ways with roast chicken – moroccan-spiced, indian-spiced, tarragon, white wine and garlic butter & thai-style roast chicken. Who said chicken was boring?!
‘Til next time, Sheila.