Do you remember in the days of yesteryear, eating out at your grandma’s home, the smell of her wonderful cooking? Nobody cooks like Grandma, right? Well, for me, one experience to always remember was Grandma’s roast chicken.
I have so many fond memories, each one bringing a smile to my face: her apple pie, her homemade fudge, her sour bread; the list is endless. I feel very blessed for the lessons Grandma gave me when I was young. Her teaching in the kitchen made me the chef I am today.
From the very first mouthful to the last, this chicken is so moist, so juicy, I guarantee you will find yourself craving it over and over again.
1 5-pound roasting chicken
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons freshly chopped oregano
1 large orange
1 medium onion
1 large onion
¼ cup melted butter
6 regular sausages
1 small chopped onion
½ cup fresh, herbed, bread crumbs
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 medium egg
½ cup dried cranberries
Clean the chicken inside and out (warm water will do the trick); remove any excess fat at the neck of the chicken. Carefully put your hand under the skin around the bird’s neck to raise the skin from the flesh; try not to pierce the skin as this is where you will put your stuffing. Set the bird to one side.
Remove the skin from the sausages and place them in a medium-size bowl. Add the salt and pepper, dried cranberries, small chopped onion, herbed bread crumbs and egg. Blend together until the ingredients can be formed into a ball.
Carefully spoon the stuffing into the opening between the flesh and skin at the chicken’s neck, pushing the mixture down to evenly cover the breast as well, always being careful not to pierce the skin. This will help hold the chicken together and keep it very moist inside.
Place the stuffed chicken in the roasting pan. Peel the medium onion and place it inside the chicken. Cut the orange into three sections, two ends and one centre piece. Put the two ends in the pan, on opposite sides of the bird.
Squeeze the juice of the orange’s centre section into a small bowl. Melt the butter to liquid form and add the orange juice. Pour the melted liquid over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with the fresh chopped oregano and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Finally, peel the large onion and cut it in two, placing the pieces on opposite sides of the chicken in the roasting pan.
Put the lid on the roasting pan and place it in a pre-heated oven at 325 C. Cook for two hours, then remove the lid and brown at 350 C for a further half hour. (Note when you remove the lid there will be quite a lot of liquid. This will evaporate somewhat while browning.)
Remove from the oven and take the chicken out of the roasting pan. Strain the remaining liquid and separate the fat, leaving residual liquid to enhance the gravy, prepared separately.
A roast does not always have to be served with vegetables and roast potatoes. You could, if you choose, try it with a light fruit salad. Whatever you decide, know this: the chicken will be very juicy.
Ian Leatt is general manager of Pegasus Publications.