READER REPORT:

Let's get NZ cooking: Quick, easy roast chicken

SUE TAYLOR
Last updated 14:30 03/12/2012
chicken
JOHN SELKIRK/Fairfax NZ
MOUTHWATERING: The classic Kiwi chicken roast can be made with pieces instead of a whole chook.

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NEED TO KNOW

Main ingredient Chicken
Type of dish Roast
Course Main course
Cooking time 30 min - 1 hour
Serves/makes 4+
Special options Kid-friendly

This is my standby can't-be-bothered-fussing dinner. It's so easy and quick kids can do it. For equipment you will need two roasting dishes, a saucepan, a whisk, tongs and a cup or jug.

Frozen chicken pieces - they're by far the cheapest way to buy chicken, especially if you buy 5kg bags.
Selection of veggies to roast such as: Potatoes, pumpkin, turnips, carrots, kumara, swede, eggplant, onions, artichoke, choko, yams, parsnip. Be creative, most veggies roast ok.
Green veg - can be frozen or fresh - maybe silverbeet, cabbage, peas, beans, broccoli etc etc.
Plain flour
Cooking oil
Spray-on cooking oil
Salt and seasonings
Water

1. Turn the oven on to about 180DegC

2. Grab the chicken straight from the freezer and throw as many pieces as you want to eat into a roasting dish. Sprinkle the pieces with a little salt and whatever spice you have hanging about such as paprika, chilli powder, garlic powder, pepper, garam masala, bbq spice mix - whatever you think will work. If you have some bottled or fresh lemon juice splash a bit of that on too. Now spray the chicken with some oil from a can of spray on cooking oil and pour in some water till it's about halfway up the chicken. Put the tray in the oven.

2. Cut the vegetables for roasting into chunks and chuck them into the other dish. Wash them first but don't bother peeling them - it's easier and better for you anyway. Chuck the onions in unpeeled and uncut (once they're cooked you cut the skin and scoop out the yummy middle). Things like carrots can be thrown in whole if they are smaller.

3. Pour in a tablespoon or so of oil - just slosh it in, don't bother measuring. Now shake the veggies around till they are coated in oil and put them in the oven with the chicken. You will need to come back in about 15 minutes to shake them about again and give them a bit of a shove if they have stuck on the bottom.

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4. Get the saucepan and throw in your green veggies, chopped if necessary. Add water and put on stove but don't cook them yet.

5. After about half an hour your chicken should be cooked and browned. If you need to check it, stab it with a knife and if it bleeds it's not ready. If the juice is clear it is ready.

6. Once the chicken is cooked, get your tongs and transfer it to the tray with the veg - it can go on top or alongside - doesn't matter. Leave it in the oven but turn off the oven.

7. Now is the time to start cooking the green vegetables - put them on high and turn them down to low when they boil. Leave the lid on.

8. Take the tray the chicken was in - you now have chicken stock. Put this tray on the stove top on the largest element.

9. Make a roux (pronounced 'roo'). This sounds very complicated; promise it's not! Put about half a cup of plain flour in the cup or jug and add oil till it's pourable but not too sloppy. That's it - that's a roux, well the cheat's version anyway. How easy is that eh?

10. Now to turn chicken stock to sauce (it's not really gravy cause you don't mess about with browning the flour first). If the stock has evaporated in the oven just add a little more water, but not too much or it will be watery. If your green veggies have boiled you can steal a bit of the water from them but don't do this if you are using cabbage or broccoli as the taste is too strong. Boil the stock and pour in a bit of the roux at a time, stirring it with the whisk as you go until it looks thick enough to suit your taste. Let it boil a bit to cook the flour and season with salt also to suit your taste. 

(This sauce is going to look rather pale to those of you used to packet gravy. If you really need it to look like that, invest in a bottle of gravy browning and add this till it's suitably brown.)

Next step - yell at the troops to come and serve themselves, or if you don't trust them - serve it out yourself!

It's always best to throw the plates in the oven a bit before serving to heat them a tad as the food will go cold if you put it on cold plates. Use a cloth to get them out or you will burn your fingers.

Enjoy your meal!


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