Why did the roast chicken cross the road?

It may have been to  avoid you removing its wishbone…
But according to Heston Blumenthal you have to take out its wishbone if you are to roast the chicken successfully.
He argues that you should pull back the flap of skin from the chicken’s neck and then over the shoulder, turning it inside out until your fingers can locate the wishbone — the first bone in the cavity. Use a knife to slit just deep enough into the surrounding flesh to expose the wishbone fully. Snap the wishbone from its attachment at the shoulder joints (see photo left) at the point where it meets the collarbones, shoulder blades and wing bones.


Before this orthopaedic expertise you should, he argues, soak the chicken overnight in brine (one litre of water to 60 gm salt) and untie the legs before opening them (to allow the heat to penetrate all parts of the chicken). The rest of the recipe is as follows:


Cook at 90ºC, fan 70°C, . Roll and pierce the lemon then place it in the cavity of the bird with half the thyme. Rub some butter on top of the skin.


Place the chicken on the rack in a roasting tray and place in the oven. Roast the chicken until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast is 60ºC (this should take 3-4 hours).


Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 45 minutes. Turn the oven temperature as high as it will go.


In the meantime, melt the butter in a pan and add 30ml wine and a few sprigs of thyme. Bring to the boil then remove the pan from the heat and use the melted butter to baste the chicken before and during browning.


Once the resting time has elapsed, put the chicken back in the roasting tray and return it to the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown, taking care that it doesn’t burn. 


Once coloured, remove the chicken from the oven and place on a cooling rack.


To carve the chicken, remove the legs by slicing down where they meet the breast and splaying them outwards to expose the joint, which you can then sever. 


Remove the breast by running a sharp knife deeply into the flesh along one side of the centre bone that extends the length of the bird, making a deep vertical cut. Then cut horizontally through the flesh at the bottom of the breast until the horizontal cut meets the vertical, separating the breast from the ribcage. Repeat the procedure on the other side of the centre bone. The breasts can then be laid cut-side down on the chopping board and sliced.


Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper


If making the gravy…


When the chicken has been browned and removed from the roasting tray, place the tray containing the juices on the hob over a medium-high heat. Add the white wine and scrape and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the chicken stock and cook until reduced to a sauce. Strain into a small saucepan.


Before serving, stir in the mustard and warm through. Finish with freshly chopped tarragon and parsley and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper

Published by Rob

Now 70, I'm getting back into website development and brand protection, as well as showcasing the delightful artistic talents of my beautiful wife Lynne. My projection will encompass a lifetime of database marketing, as well as the Christian democratic socialist ideals of my wife and I.

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