Recently I had the pleasure of reading Nigella Lawson’s first book, How to Eat, cover to cover in bed like it was a novel. This book reminded me so much of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Even though Nigella never went to Le Cordon Bleu like Julia, I think it’s safe to say she’s inspired millions of home cooks to get in the kitchen and create something special.
And as much as I adore Ina, the thing that makes Nigella my favorite is that even though her father is a Baron and she no doubt has buckets of money, she never makes me feel inferior. She’s honest about her food, has notoriously terrible knife skills, isn’t afraid to take shortcuts, and just truly seems to love food.
One of the first “recipes” in How to Eat is roast chicken. This is such a simple British classic, and yet I seem to always overlook roasting a whole chicken. In the book, this is much more of a story than a traditional recipe, all about how her chicken compares to her mother’s, and it just made me fall in love with her even more.
Being a recipe hoarder, I tend to skip over things that are excessively simplistic, thinking it hardly counts as cooking. But the whole point of cooking is eating, and a roast chicken is simple, flavorful, and comforting. It’s takes all of five minutes to prepare, and the oven does the rest, so you could easily cook a small bird even for a week night dinner. And if, like us, you’re only serving a couple of people, you already half the work done for at least one more meal by using the leftover chicken in something else.
Nigella has inspired me not to overlook the simplistic, as this is where we can sometimes find the most enjoyment. Go ahead and make a simple, unadulterated roast chicken. It’ll be awesome.
Basically Awesome roast Chicken
1 whole chicken
1 hour 30 minutes
- 1 whole medium chicken
- Half a lemon
- Spray olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 200C (400F).
- Remove your chicken from the packaging and place it in a roasting pan. Shove your half a lemon inside the cavity of the chicken. Spray your chicken all over with olive oil. Just a quick spritz. You don’t need to drown it. Season all over with salt and pepper.
- Pop your chicken in the oven for about an hour and a half. Check the packaging for a suggested cooking time for the size of your specific chicken. When it’s done, the skin will be crisp and golden and juices should run clear.
- Allow the chicken to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving and eating.
- To save the leftovers, allow the chicken to cool, then just get in there with your hands to pull off any remaining meat. Pour any juices from the roasting pan over the leftover chicken to help prevent it from drying out, then clamp on the lid of your air tight container.
Adapted from How to Eat by Nigella Lawson.
A few awesome recipes that use pre-cooked chicken