My mother has always said that we do "well brought up" chooks - and the difference in taste and texture is simply amazing.
A well raised chook to me is free range, raised on a 100% vegetarian diet (the only one in Australia) and allowed to grow to maturity (9-16 weeks), the result is a 2 -3kg bird that is moist,
darker meat in the leg, juicy and full of flavour – with proper skin development and ideal for roasting.
Prepare for any large entertaining situation such as Christmas by roasting your Chicken ahead of time.
When it comes time to get the food on the table simply warm your chicken, preheat your oven to
170 degrees. Brush with a little melted butter and olive oil (about 50gm butter & 30 ml olive oil). Rub some salt onto the skin and grind some fresh black pepper over the bird.
Place 500 ml of stock or water in the base of the Pan.
* If you are doing vegetables these can be cut up and placed around the chicken in the same pan.
Put the chicken in the oven for 35-45 minutes depending on size (smaller birds require less time).
Spoon some of my Beetroot jam into two small bowls and place on the table
Beetroot jam is a wonderful accompaniment to any cooked or smoked poultry as well as many other things. The vibrant colour also gives a Christmas feel to the table!
Once the chicken has warmed through (you really don’t want chicken to be piping hot as it toughens) take it out of the oven and pour about 50 ml of verjuice over it.
Drain the liquid from the pan and turn the chicken breast side down in the pan and rest for about 30-45 minutes - covered loosely with a sheet of alfoil or a tea towel.
Always rest anything you are roasting or in this case re-heating for as long as you cooked it for if not more. The result will be more succulent.
Strain the chicken juices to remove any solids and put aside to make jus. At this point you can decide what flavours you want to influence your jus.
I like to slice a shallot or half and onion and gently sauté in a small heavy based fry pan, then deglaze with verjuice or red or white wine (1 cup) and reduce to 50-100ml.