Spiced Roast Chicken, Lemon Aubergine and Garlic Yoghurt
For me, January 2013 has not been great so far because I have been struck by lurgies of varying forms. Therefore the two previous recipes were comforting and this one is a mixture really; roast chicken because that for many may be preceded by comfort, and added spice, because I am getting better!
This 2kg chicken would serve 4-6 people.
5 large cloves garlic
1tsp Maldon sea salt or half a tsp of table salt
1.5tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp smoked paprika
1tbsp lemon juice
1tsp plain oil or light olive oil
1 x (hopefully) happy chicken between 1.7 and 2.1kilos but it is not that important, you will just have stronger or not as strong flavour if the size differs hugely.
1 lemon to place in the cavity.
Fresh Coriander to garnish
If you have some leftover it will be delicious with salad or in a wrap for lunch – but don’t forget the yoghurt sauce at the end.
1. Put all of the paste ingredients in a pestal and mortar and pound to a pulp.
2. If you have some plastic food prep gloves, use them I think. First push your hand under the chicken’s skin. Try not to break through the skin; it is not the end of the world if you do but best if you don’t.
3. When you have loosened the skin from the breast meat, put a blob of the paste under the skin. You should be able to spread it around the loosened skin from the outside. Do the same with the legs. You will find an opening from the inner side of the leg.
4. Try to spread it around under the skin as best you can. But don’t worry too much if this is tricky as the breast juices will mingle and spread.
5. Either spread unsalted butter all over the chicken and sprinkle with salt, or do the same with plain oil. You will see below that I spread butter over one half and oil over the other in order to test which was better. While there was not an enormous difference, the buttery side was crisper.
6. Put the chicken in a hot oven of about 190-200 degrees C for at least an hour, depending on the size of the chicken. Open the door about every twenty minutes to baste the chicken with its cooking juices.
I served this with buttery rice and a multitude of veg because I felt I needed it. Were I to cut down on effort, I would go for the aubegine with the rice. As you can see, I saw a lonely yellow pepper in the fridge and quickly roasted it. It certainly adds colour, but perhaps is the less necessary component. This actually isn’t a time consuming dinner and I bet you have most of the ingredients in your cupboard. If you don’t have fresh coriander, that really is not important.
Lemony Garlicky Aubergine
Serves 4 -6 depending on if you have other vegetables.
1 medium aubergine
half a clove of finely chopped garlic
Lemon juice – about 2 tbsp
Plain oil – start with 2 tbsp
1. Chop the aubergine into pieces, about 3cm x 1cm and sprinkle salt over it in a colander and leave for half an hour. Then rinse off the liquid that has been produced and pat dry.
2. Fry the aubergine in oil over a medium high heat. I used sunflower oil as olive oil might be a little strong in this case. If the aubergine catches on the bottom of the pan, add a little more oil but be careful not to add too much as aubergine will happily absorb a lot of it. Try to stir to stop the catching instead and just add oil if absolutely necessary.
3. After five minutes or so, add very finely diced garlic.
4. Fry and stir until tender and then add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice and season to taste.
I do realise that every component of this dish so far involves garlic! But because the chicken garlic is roasted and the addition to the aubergine is small, it does work.
250 mls plain yoghurt
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp maldon sea salt or 1/8 of table salt
1. Finely chop the garlic and sprinkle the salt on top.
2. Using the flat side of a knife, press the salt into the garlic so that a paste is formed.
3. Add this to the yoghurt.
4. Add fresh coriander if you like.
This is not that buttery but it somehow tastes it in a delicious comforting way. The onions add sweetness.
1tbsp plain oil
1 medium sized onion finely diced
325mls boiling water or mild chicken stock
1. Melt the butter and oil together.
2. Cook the onion until almost golden.
3. Add the rice and stir to coat with the onion mixture.
4. Add the water and turn the heat to low.
5. Put the lid on for about 10-15 minutes but check after 8.
6. When the liquid is mostly absorbed, remove the pan from the heat and place a tea towel over the pan, with a lid on top of the tea towel. Leave it to rest for a few minutes for the final liquid to be absorbed and the rice to fluff up.