Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Channeling Heston

My Take on The Perfect Roast Chicken

Fresh, gorgeous, organic/free range bird


60g Sea Salt per 1 litre water (approx 240g / 4 litres for a medium sized bird – bigger birds need more liquid to submerge and a bigger pot to do that – remember you need to get this into your fridge so plan accordingly
  • Optional step is to dissolve salt in hot/boiling water to aid in dissolution, then cool completely before using. I didn’t bother, I can use a spoon for an extended period of stirring.
  • Small bunch of fresh Thyme
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 50g butter
  1. Make up brine to volume necessary to submerge bird
  2. Submerge bird in brine (I used a large stock pot)
  3. Refrigerate overnight (min 12hrs / max 24hrs)
  4. Remove from fridge/brine, drain well, pop on a plate and cover with a tea towel and put back in fridge for an hour to dry. (or overnight if you’ve fucked up and had a huge lunch and have no room for a roast dinner...) (note that this delay did not impact the finished product!)
  5. Put into roasting pan, put thyme and lemon into cavity and massage butter all over skin (I sometimes go underneath the skin, but not always. It turned out fine without all that malarky.
  6. Insert (ThermoWorks ChefAlarm*) probe into thickest part of bird (think breast) and set alarm to 70°C cook in 90-100°C (slow) oven until alarm goes off – for me it was at temperature at just under 2 hours (and yes, it seems low but there is physics involved so you shouldn’t die... but if you’re freaking out, go for 75°C)
  7. Remove from oven and allow to rest 45 minutes, uncovered.
  8. Turn oven up to highest setting (250°C – make sure to use pans okay to go that high) and pre heat
  9. Baste bird with juices and pop into oven for 10 minutes (until skin is crispy/brown – may be 15mins).
  10. Remove ... carve ... serve ... enjoy!
Lesson learnt – if you want a roast chicken lunch / early dinner, start the process before bed the night before. That will ensure you’ve got the chicken in the brine for at least 12 hours but no more than 24 hours which is really the max for chicken. It’s then about 2 1⁄2 hours from start cooking to serving, so work backwards from when you want to put it on the table.

Lesson given – 90°C is 194°F. 70°C is 158°F. FFS, just get into the metric system already. It is SHIT TONS easier. Oh, and when giving recipe measurements, use volume (ml, litres or ounces) for liquid and weight for solids. Piss off the Teaspoons / Tablespoons / Cups etc. – did you know there’s a substantial difference in weight between 1 tsp of salt as measured by US teaspoons vs Australian teaspoons? Same if you’re measuring liquid in one of those little bastards.

*About the ThermoWorks ChefAlarm – I bought this when we were still in Japan, it was shipped promptly and arrived in good condition. My goal was a gauge I could set and forget – until the alarm goes off at the programmed temperature. It works a freakin’ treat. I LOVE it. And, given the unique parameters of this recipe, it provided me piece of mind that I could go out and dig up broken watering pipes in the garden without worrying that I’d miss taking the chicken out of the oven. If you follow the link above, I get nothing. They have an affiliate program, but to be honest, I couldn’t be arsed to fill in the application. So just buy one and send me some money. I’ll give you my paypal details later.

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