A variation on one of my most-cooked recipe’s from the amazing Diana Henry. In her version, Diana stuff’s the chicken with a feta and tomato mixture – it’s delicious, but I didn’t have time or the ingredients to do that this time.
Prepare: 5 minutes
Cook: 80 minutes
1.8kg whole chicken
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp za’atar (optional)
225g orzo pasta
500ml hot chicken stock
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or oregano
1 Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Put the chicken into a 30cm cast iron ovenproof dish or roasting tin.
2 Drizzle the chicken with the olive oil and season well with salt, pepper and za’atar, if you have it.
3 Roast in the oven for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle the orzo around the chicken and pour the stock over the orzo. Put the tray back into the oven to cook for 20 minutes more. Check during this time to make sure the orzo isn’t drying – there should be enough stock, but top it up with a little boiling water if needed.
4 Once the 20 minutes are up the chicken should be cooked – check that the juices run clear, with no trace of pink meat – and the orzo should be tender. The stock should also have been absorbed. Stir the fresh herbs into the orzo. Serve the chicken straight from the pan. A dressed green salad is all you need on the side.
It’s Chinese New Year – the year of the Rooster. If you don’t think it’s inappropriate to celebrate by eating chicken (!) then try this delicious, family-friendly (not too spicy) and very easy roast recipe. The slow cooker version can be found in my book – Slow Cooking.
Whole roast Chinese chicken with plums
Prepare 15 minutes, plus resting
Cook 1 hour 25 minutes
1.5kg whole chicken
1 tbsp five spice powder
1 tbsp sesame oil
600g plums, halved and stoned
100ml dry fino sherry
200ml chicken stock
1 tbsp clear honey
- Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Place the chicken in a roasting tin and pat the skin dry with kitchen paper. Mix the five spice powder and the oil together. Rub the mixture over the chicken as evenly as possible. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
- Place half of the plums around the chicken, and pour the sherry and stock over them. Return to the oven and cook for another 45 minutes.
- Add the remaining plums and continue to cook for another 25 minutes or until the chicken is golden (cover the chicken with foil if it is browning too fast) and the juices run clear when tested with a skewer inserted into the thickest part between the leg and the breast.
- Place the chicken on a platter and allow to rest in a warm place. Warm the plum mixture in the roasting tin over a high heat. Stir in the honey to taste and season well. Carve the chicken and serve with the plum sauce, steamed oriental greens and rice or noodles.
Image from Slow Cooking by Katie Bishop. Photograph© David Munns