Roasting 101

Sponsored by Steggles

On the occasion that we spend the weekend with Mum, there is always the following conversation.

Mum – “What would you like for di…..”

Boys – “ROAST CHICKEN!”

Every. Single. Time.

And that’s ok with her because it is one that she can knock out without thinking about it. There is, however, the wishbone argument that happens afterwards.

Every. Single. Time!

Mrs. Goodman has created a very special Roast Chook recipe (along with an incredibly good gravy!) for you to get stuck into, but before we get to that, let’s talk about the time.

Quality time.

We are a nation of self proclaimed time poor people. I get it. Life is a juggle. Kids create chaos with their schooling and appointments and practices. Meetings run late and the phone doesn’t stop. You can quite often feel like you are being pushed and pulled at the same time.

Recently, it came to my attention that my family was becoming quite disconnected. Conversations had turned to grunting as everyone did their own thing. Whole days could pass with minimal verbalisation, which is just not healthy. So I have put together a few “best practices” to make sure I am getting some good time in with each family member. Here are a few things you can do, if you think your bonds need strengthening.

  • Take a Walk to get some milk. Grab the nearest kid, chuck the dog on the lead and even if you don’t really need milk, take the excuse to meander along the sidewalks and have a good old chat.
  • Water the gardens. Grab the hose and a kid and get outside. Talk about stuff that might be going on in their head. And of course, spray them when they least expect it.
  • Bake! Even if it is just a packet cake. Creating something together is good for ones soul. Plus CAKE! Result.
  • Quite often, I will grab the big one and go and have a hit of tennis out on the road. He laughs at me and my unco-ordination but it is just something that we do together.
  • Hold a family meeting after dinner, to plan stuff and discuss the business of the day.
  • Appoint a sous chef. Growing up with 3 sisters and one brother, Mum always appointed a sous chef and it was during those times, I learnt the basic fundamentals of cooking from a very young age. Measuring and counting and stirring and slurping and really talking. Happy memories right there.

I know, I KNOW. You want the food right? With that, I present you…

1

Ingredients

Serves 8-12 so settle in for long and large family lunch.

2x Large (2/2.5kg) Steggles Family Roast Chickens

2x large Onions

4x Carrots

2x Lemons

2x whole bulbs of Garlic

1x bunch of Thyme

2x tablespoons of Butter

4x tablespoons of Olive Oil

1x small wedge of Pumpkin or Butternut

1x heaped tablespoon of Flour

500ml Chicken Stock

Salt and Cracked Pepper

2

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 deg.

Peel and chop the carrots and onions roughly and scatter over the bottom of a large roasting dish. Throw in the peeled pumpkin too.

Pat the chickens dry with paper towel and sit them next to each other (but not squashed together) on top of the veggies, with breast sides up.

Salt and pepper them LIBERALLY, This is important for chicken and gravy flavour.

Slice the lemons and garlic bulbs in half and pop half of each into the chicken cavities and the other two into the open roasting tray.

Divide the bunch of thyme into 3 and place a small bunch into each cavity and then pull the leaves and buds from the other third and scatter over the chickens.

Dot each chicken with a tablespoon of butter and drizzle with the olive oil.

3

Place the whole roasting dish onto the middle shelf in a 180 degree preheated oven and cook for approx. 2 hours – 25/30mins per 500g of weight. Juices should run clear when skewered. If not, whack them back in for 10-15mins.

Remember to baste the chickens every half hour, using the pan juices.

I turn the chickens over after an hour to crisp up the other side then turn back for the last 15/20 minutes.

When done, place the chickens on a board to REST while you whip up the gravy.

4

Place the roasting pan on the stovetop and mash the carrots/onion and the pumpkin (My Granny’s trick to thicken and flavour the gravy!) into the pan juices. And squeeze out one of the roasted 1/2 garlic bulbs into the tray. Remove the lemons and extra garlic.

Skim off any extra fat from the top of the pan juices and sprinkle in one heaped tablespoon of flour. Let it bubble away.

Pour in 500ml of chicken stock and let it reduce slightly. Check for seasoning and add some more cracked pepper, if necessary.

Pour the deliciousness through a sieve and force through as much of the veggie goodness as you can.

I have been known to add extra stock to the unstrained veggie/gravy mix and blitz the whole lot in a blender for a thicker, more unctuous gravy!

5

To make the whole experience even better, I serve with duck-fat roasted potatoes, honey baby carrots and green beans.

Mrs. Goodman’s Duck-fat Roasted Spuds

Ingredients

12-15 potatoes, peeled and cut lengthways

1 cup of Duck fat (vegetable oil works well too)

Approx. 2 Tablespoons of kosher/Maldon salt.

Method

Boil the potato halves in salted water until they just start to soften. While this is being done, put the duck fat into another roasting tray and heat in the oven under the roasting chickens.

Drain the potatoes in a colander and scuff them up with a fork.

Lay them facedown in the heated duck fat and sprinkle liberally with the salt.

Roast for the last hour that you have the chickens cooking, turn once.

When crispy, drain them on paper towel and pile them around the cooked chooks.

By this time, the whole family is being driven crazy by the spectacular smells emanating through your house, and if they are anything like mine, they will be congregating around the kitchen bench, enjoying a good vino and great conversation.

What do you do to make sure that your family is connected?

And PLEASE save me a seat at your table if you cook Mrs. Goodman’s Chooks!

Steggles have recently conducted a survey to see how Australian Families like to spend quality time together. Click here for the details. Also, be in the running to win ten Hoyts Movie Tickets for your tribe by sharing a photo of your family having fun on Twitter or Instagram. Just add the hashtags #stegglerfor #qualitytime and you are in with a chance. (Perfectly timed for the holidays!)