Cooking for beginners with Sali Green...
Whole free range chicken
1 orange cut into quarters
A few cloves of garlic
1 stock cube
Sprigs of fresh thyme
A fresh chilli
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Pre-heat up the oven to 200°C. Peel and par-boil the potatoes. Put the chicken into a roasting dish. Insert a couple of orange pieces, a fresh chilli, the stock cube, some thyme and garlic into the chicken. This helps to make delicious juice which you pour into your gravy. Also make a few incisions around the chicken with a small knife and insert some fresh peeled garlic in there too. If you are pushed for time, you can ‘spatchcock’ the chicken by cutting it in a manner which enables you to spread it out flat, yet still whole. Pour some olive oil onto the chicken and rub it in with some rock salt and black pepper. You can also sprinkle a little seasoning of your choice onto here which will add flavour to the crispy skin.
2. Add the potatoes when the chicken is partly cooked and the oil is nice and hot. Cook until everything smells delicious and has gone brown. Some people like to add some rashers of bacon (please go for free range!) on top of the chicken and let that cook until crispy.
3. Timings – check periodically with a knife to see when the chicken is cooked through.
4. To make the gravy, I use different ingredients every time, and plenty of tasting and guesswork. My mum does it properly by making a roux first. I never quite got the hang of this so I ideally use a fresh carton of Waitrose gravy as a base, then add in the chicken juice, a squirt of squirty Marmite, a dash of red wine, a pinch of brown sugar, a few drops of Tabasco and/or soy sauce, and if it needs thickening then I mix a spoonful of cornflour in a glass with some water, stir it until it’s smooth, and add that into the mixture. Funnily enough, this concoction tastes delicious, has become popular in my family, and could even be eaten on its own as soup.
5. Steam your seasonal veg, add a knob of butter, and serve with a smile.