Tastes like chicken ...with a twist
Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle on a cosy night in roasting a chicken - who knew it was the food of love? Here are three ways to enjoy the royal favourite… Romance is optional!
QUINCE-GLAZE CHICKEN FIG & WALNUT STUFFING AND SMASHED BUTTER BEANS
This is a lovely way to lift a simple roast chicken to a feast-worthy meal. The quince glaze adds a sweetness while also crisping up the chicken skin.
500g (1lb 2oz) quinces, cored and cut into wedges
200g caster sugar
1½ lemons, zest and juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
1 onion, finely chopped
100g dried figs, finely chopped
50g walnuts, finely chopped
50g (3½ tbsp) butter, softened
60g fresh breadcrumbs
3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 small bunch of sage, finely chopped
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1.8-2kg (4-4½ lb) chicken, best quality you can afford
2 x 400g cans butter (lima) beans
Rocket lettuce to serve
1 Place the quince in a large pan with the sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 500ml water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer until reduced to a light syrup, about 1 hour. Remove the quince, setting aside about half the wedges (save for a compote or pudding another time), but reserving the rest.
2 Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pan and add the onion. Sweat over a low heat until translucent, then tip into a bowl with the figs, walnuts and butter. Remove the skin from the reserved quinces and mash the flesh. Add this to the bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs, most of the chopped herbs and all the spices.
3 Fill the chicken cavity with the stuffing, leaving a little room at the opening. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place the chicken in a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes per 500g (1lb 2oz).
4 After the cooking time, remove from the oven and baste with the quince glaze, then return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. Baste again before serving.
5 Tip the beans into a saucepan with a splash of water, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice and zest and the remaining herbs. Mash together until creamy over a low heat then season with salt and pepper. Carve the chicken and serve with the smashed beans and some rocket.
SUMAC-DUSTED ROAST CHICKEN
Classic roast chicken receives a zesty upgrade here, with a sprinkle of sumac, a vividly burgundy-hued spice that lends a beautiful colour and a citrus-like freshness. The trick to crispy skin is to dry-brine it applying salt and leaving the chicken uncovered in the fridge overnight before roasting.
1 x 2 kg (about 4½ lb) chicken
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp sumac
1 Start this recipe the day prior to serving. Rinse the chicken well under cold water, removing any giblets and trimming back any excess fat from around the cavity.
2 Use paper towels to pat the entire chicken dry, then season liberally with salt. Tuck the wings under the bird, then place it, breast side up, into a roasting pan with a rack. The rack keeps air circulating around the bird during cooking, which helps to encourage crispier skin. Leaving it uncovered, put the pan in the fridge overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
3 When you remove the chicken from the fridge, do everything you can to avoid getting any liquid or water on the skin again - it's this dryness that will help create an awesome skin.
4 Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Cut the lemon in half again and place into the cavity of the chicken, along with the garlic cloves. Use butcher's twine to truss the legs together, wrapping it around the end of the legs to bring them together.
5 Sprinkle the sumac evenly across the top of the chicken.
6 Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 45-60 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 71°C (160°F). To check his, insert your thermometer between the chicken leg and thigh, making sure not to touch bone (which will give you a false reading). Technically speaking, 74°C (165°F) is the safe temperature for chicken, but it will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven, so we're allowing for that.
7 Once the chicken has reached the correct temperature, remove from the oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
Change it up: If you're a serious garlic fan, cut a whole garlic bulb in half and add it to the pan at the same time as the chicken. Once roasted, garlic has a gentle but complex flavour. Squeeze or pull the roasted garlic cloves out of the papery skin and serve with the chicken.
ROAST CHICKEN WITH TANDOORI RUB
The spices in this rub result in a subtle flavour that is not too heavy or overpowering, so this is definitely one to try for Sunday lunch or the next time you want to roast a whole chicken.
1 large whole chicken
400g purple sprouting broccoli
Olive oil, for drizzling
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
100g baby kale or baby leaf salad
Sea salt flakes
For the brine (optional) 4.5 litres cold water
85g fine salt
200g soft light brown sugar
For the tandoori paste 2 tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Whisk all the brine ingredients together until dissolved. Put the chicken into a stockpot or container big enough to hold the chicken comfortably. Pour over enough of the brine to cover it entirely. Leave for at least 3 hours but ideally overnight. Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse and pat dry with kitchen paper. (You can skip the brining step if you are cooking on the day.)
2 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6. Pound or blend all the paste ingredients together so you have a thick-ish rub. Slice the lemon into four and rub the chicken all over, inside and out. Rub the paste all over the chicken, making sure you don't neglect the legs, thighs and wings.
3 Put the lemon quarters into the cavity, place the chicken in a roasting tray and cover with foil. Roast in the oven for 2 hours, then remove the foil, increase the heat to 240°C (475°F), Gas Mark 9 and cook for another 20 minutes, or until well browned. Remove from the oven and allow to rest.
4 Steam the broccoli until cooked but still with some bite. Toss with a little olive oil, the chilli flakes and some sea salt. Serve the chicken with the broccoli and kale salad.