I was in need of some comfort food today, and this is the healthiest comfort food I know. A nice, easy, all-in-one meal (although I usually cook some broccoli to go with it) cooked without any added fat.
This way of roasting the chicken keeps it very, very moist. You can freeze the leftovers for a ready meal.
The recipe is adapted from a Good Housekeeping Healthy Eating Recipe Book. In the recipe below anything listed as ‘optional’ is what I’ve added. Of course, you can adapt it further to suit yourself if you want to make it. It’s worth trying.
1 whole chicken 575g pumpkin or butternut squash* 1 yellow pepper 1 red pepper 1 red onion 1 lime 1 red chili 2 oranges 300ml chicken stock (I use a cube) 2 tsp jerk seasoning** salt and pepper carrots (optional) garlic (optional) brown (ordinary) onion (optional)
* I used new potatoes this time as there are no squashes or pumpkins about
** if you haven’t got jerk use salt and paprika. This time I used Chinese five spice.
Preheat oven to 180C (gas 4)
Cut the peppers into chunks - about 2.5cm
Peel the pumpkin or squash and chop into wedges. Peel and cut the onions into wedges Halve and deseed the chili and cut into thin strips If using, peel and chop the carrots into chunks If using, split the garlic bulb into cloves but leave them whole.
Put all these veggies into a large roasting dish. Leave room in the centre for the chicken.
Grate the rind of the oranges and the lime*** then squeeze the juice from them.
Pour the lime juice and 60ml of the orange juice over the veggies. Stir in the grated rinds and season with salt and pepper.
Put the chicken in the roasting pan in the middle of the veggies.
Brush the chicken with the rest of the orange juice and rub in the jerk seasoning (or whatever you are using).
I pour the chicken stock over the veggies and cook it all together. I find it makes for a very moist chicken. But the original recipe saves it for the ‘posh gravy’ below.
Cook in the oven until the chicken is cooked (you will have weighed the chicken or, like me, put a meat thermometer in it).
Put the cooked chicken on a carving dish to rest (meat and poultry carves better if you leave it out of the oven to ‘rest’ for 15 minutes before carving). Meanwhile put the veggies in a serving dish - you might want to pop them into the cooling oven to keep warm.
Pour the juice from the pan into a saucepan and ‘reduce’ it (ie boil it a bit to thicken it up). Alternatively, you can make the ‘posh gravy’ below. I usually cook some broccoli at this stage. Savoy cabbage would probably be nice for a change.
Carve the meat into thick slices or chunks. This is not a ‘delicate’ meal.
*** If you want to make a posh gravy for this, pare a few very thin strips of the rind and put to one side.
‘Posh Gravy’ After removing the chicken and vegetables from the roasting pan, strain off any fat then pour the stock back into the pan (if you didn’t add it before cooking) and bring to the boil. Add the reserved orange and lime strips and simmer for ten minutes.