Roast Chicken with Vegetables and Herbs Posted by: | April 25, 2010
 

I had the pleasure to have Matt & Marie come over for dinner last night. They have been spectators of my food for a long time through my Facebook and Blog, so it’s time to finally let them taste it first hand. Not to mention, they are also awesome company to have for dinner! But I gotta admit I was slightly nervous to deliver a tasty meal that meets their expectation derived from my promising food pictures so far. I chose a pretty safe and festive dish: Roast Chicken. You can’t go wrong with that as long as you season the chicken well and watch it while it’s roasting in the oven (but then again, I even took a quick shower in between turning the chicken!). Now this dish is different from my Roast chicken with Cherry Tomatoes I made for Easter. It is a dry, crispy roast instead of the very juicy base of the latter. But for both cases, the meat should be tender. As for side dish, I threw in potatoes and carrots into the tray to roast with the chicken as well, so that’s an entire meal on one roasting pan. I love that idea. For dessert, I made the “Night & Day” cupcakes that I made for my picnic a few weeks ago, but made some slight changes with the topping (I minced the dark chocolate into chunky pieces instead of grating it into fine shavings).

I started with making the cupcakes first, from 2:30pm, and after over an hour, I had dessert ready and chillin. Snapped a couple of pictures of the cupcakes and sent to Marie to excite her. Then I straight away moved on to making the roast chicken. After all the chicken seasoning, chopping of vegetables and cleaning, I was ready to roast it by 6:45pm. Just in time for dinner at 8pm. I didn’t have time to dress up or make up though. Hosting dinners are challenging that way. You gotta make sure you have enough time to make all the dishes, but you can’t be done too early because then the dishes will be cold (esp for Roast chicken, you gotta eat it while it’s still hot and crispy). Plus, you gotta make sure you look presentable and not sweaty and stinking of food. So yeah, whether it’s cooking for 2 or for 6, the same rules and pressure apply. But I love the excitement and the rewarding feeling of having everything on the table when your guests arrive. Ever since I started having friends over for dinner, I also started enjoying pairing wine with my food. Nowadays I would research on what pairs best with the dish I am going to make, and let the guests bring the right wine, instead of having them waste money on something that won’t flatter the tastes of my dishes. Matt & Marie brought excellent Chardonnay. I will elaborate on that later. Marie also brought her very pro camera kit to shoot my food, so the pictures you are going to see below are worlds apart from my semi-pro attempts so far. If you like what you see, Marie is available for Freelance Food photography *plug* ;) First up here is the Roast chicken recipe which is a cross between a classic Roast chicken recipe by Mark Bittman, a Roast chicken with lemons & carrots recipe on Real Simple, and the roasted potatoes were taken from Jamie Oliver’s Lemon Roast Potatoes in Jamie Magazine. That might sound complicated, but it’s actually very simple as all these recipes use the same key ingredients and baking method. Hence I was able to combine the best of not both, but 3 worlds!

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Carrots and Herbs

INGREDIENTS (serves 3 – 4)

  • 7 – 8 chicken legs (roasting chicken parts is much easier than a whole chicken, and it also takes on the flavors easier. plus, it’s my favorite part of the chicken!)
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 6 medium potatoes, chopped into chunky pieces
  • 3 – 4 medium carrots, halved and cut into 3cm length pieces.
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • several cloves of garlic (up to 10), unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves for chicken seasoning (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, bashed in a pestle and mortar (for the potatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano (for the potatoes)

METHOD:

1.  Marinating the chicken: for best taste, I usually like to season my chicken ahead and put it aside to marinate while I prepare the rest of the ingredients. Now this is a fun trick I learnt from Michael Smith on “Chef At Home”: Put the chicken into a ziploc bag, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt & pepper, basil leaves, and dried rosemary leaves. Seal the bag and toss the chicken inside the bag until it is evenly coated in the marinate sauce. Put the chicken (still sealed inside the ziploc) into the fridge and forget about it until you are ready to roast.

2. Parboil the potatoes in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes, until it is soft around the outsides. Drain well and cool for a minute. In a big bowl, mix the potatoes with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the carrots, lemon wedges, bashed coriander seeds, and oregano. Season well with salt and pepper and toss until the potatoes and carrots are well coated in oil and spices. Preheat Oven to 450 deg F or 230 deg C.

3. Layer the roasting tray with the chicken and vegetables in a single layer. This is important as you want all parts to be evenly roasted. Dot the tray with the garlic cloves, and make sure the lemon wedges are distributed evenly on the tray so you don’t get spots that are too sour. Sprinkle with Paprika powder. Put the tray into the preheated oven (below is how it looks like before being put into the oven).

4. After chicken has cooked for 15 minutes, turn the chicken and vegetables pieces, and roast for another 10 minutes. Then turn the chicken and vegetables again and cook until chicken is done, for another 5 to 15 at most (to see if the chicken is done, you can make a small cut in the meat near the bone to see if the juice is clear. If it’s still bloody, then you need to continue cooking). By now your house should be smelling heavenly of Roast chicken and potatoes. Take out the tray to cool on a wire rack, and serve, with some fresh basil leaves tossed over and some of the hot lemon juice (from the lemon wedges) squeezed over it. You can press out the roasted garlic cloves from its skin for extra flavour.

And there you have a gorgeous spread on the table. Serve with a bowl of fresh salad. We paired the dish with a good bottle of Australian Chardonnay, which has a citrus aroma and fruity flavors of peach and melon. It goes perfectly with the chicken as it doesn’t overwhelm the chicken like heavy red wines. I can’t wait to finish the wine with my freshly baked artisan bread (recipe up later) and green salad tonight.

Here is another creative shot by Marie:

And it doesn’t end there. After gulping down 95% of the dish through a good 2 hours of laughter, we still had an awesome dessert to tuck into:

Don’t you just love the pretty golden cupcake papercups? That’s the most fun thing about making cupcakes. Decorating it and package it in the prettiest way you can think of. Bliss! And that’s me with my cupcakes, luckily I was not in focus, as I wasn’t looking my best after an entire day of cooking and baking :P

And that wrapped up a wonderful Saturday of cooking, baking, and long chat over Dinner. And guess what, the total damage of the mini dinner party only cost me about S$30! Nothing beats a good home dinner for friends. Next week I’m hosting my biggest dinner party ever: for 8 pax! I’m excited and nervous at the same time! Still can’t decide on the final menu. But hopefully it will turn out as well as yesterday :)

 

3 Responses to “Roast Chicken with Vegetables and Herbs”

  1. Marie says:

    The dinner was as delicious as promised! Thank
    you for a perfect Saturday evening and for the plug :) I just started editing the video… Heehee…

  2. TienQueen says:

    the photos look professional, those strawberries are glistening delicious

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