Friday Night Roast Chicken Recipe
This technique for roasting a chicken involves amazingly little work for a very out of the ordinary roast chicken experience. It makes you feel as though you have dined out at a fancy restaurant.
Start oven heating.
Find a roasting pan with a rack. It can be a regular roasting pan with a wire baked-goods cooling rack that will fit in. The idea is you will want to keep the chicken out of the water that will be beneath it.
Remove any inside bits from the chicken such as giblets and neck. Freeze these for making gravy or stock another time, or discard. Rinse the inside of the chicken.
Cut the half lemon into quarters. Peel the garlic cloves. (Quick way to do this: press down on them hard with a broad knife such as a chef's knife to pop the skin and make it easy to remove.)
Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Toss in the lemon quarters, the garlic and 1 or 2 of the sage leaves. Rub a tablespoon or two of the olive oil on the outside of the chicken, all over.
Pour about a cup and a half (12 oz / 375 ml) of water into the bottom of the roasting pan (ideally your rack keeps the chicken out of the water), and put the remaining sage in the water.
Roast uncovered in your oven for about 1 1/2 hours. If it browns too quickly (i.e. the outside looks done within half an hour), lower the temperature (to about 375 F / 190 C.) Check occasionally to make sure water remains in the bottom of the pan.
The chicken is done when (1) a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh shows 185 F / 85 C or (2) juices run clear when the thigh is pierced.
Remove pan from the oven, and remove the chicken from the pan. Cover the chicken with a large piece of tin foil, and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, with a piece of paper towelling or kitchen roll skim the excess fat from the pan juices. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon that was cooked inside the chicken. On a small plate, mash the cooked garlic cloves and then add this to the pan juices as well, along with the stock called for. Bring to a boil on the stove, and then keep it at a "rapid simmer" until the sauce reduces.
While this is happening (stir the sauce occasionally), cut the chicken into pieces and arrange on a platter. When the sauce is reduced, pour this over the chicken. Serve.
Nice served with rice and veg; would also be nice with a pasta, or baked potatoes and veg, or salads. Wonderful in the summer as the lemon makes it taste very light and not heavy or filling. Leftover chicken might be too flavourful for many leftover chicken recipes; we suggest using the leftover chicken in a pasta recipe, as the flavour the chicken has really shows off nicely in a pasta. If you don't have olive oil, regular vegetable oil is fine. If you don't have chicken stock, vegetable stock or stock made from a quick cube is fine. If you have access to fresh sage, this is a good recipe for it: if the leaves on the springs are very small, use one or 2 more springs, otherwise 3 to 4 sprigs should do it. If you have only dried sage, use about 1 teaspoon, sprinkling a bit of that inside the chicken and putting the rest in the water.