If I am going to take the time to make a roast chicken I want it to be perfect. Scrap the idea that you need to take hours over brining it and faffing about with tonnes of ingredients, its all about the simple hacks that make food tasty and life easy. Over the years I have cooked my chicken many different ways, from spit roast, suspended to low and slow. The one way I always come back to, or should I say the one technique I always default to is the crock pot, or casserole dish.
With its high sides and earthenware ceramic, the heat distribution throughout the bird is always consistent and the presence of moisture allows the bird to be semi steamed and semi roasted. The result is succulent meat and a crisp golden coating.
Chicken, Paprika and Sweet Potato Pot-Roast
Even on the occasions when I am cooking for two or less I go for a whole chicken. Its more cos effective to buy a whole bird and the leftovers make great fillings of sandwiches, soups and salads during the week.
- 1 large organic or free range chicken (corn fed is always best)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 large sweet potatoes, cut in rings
- 1 large white onion
- 4 cloves garlic, bashed
- 1 litre chicken stock, or water and a chicken jelly pot
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- a couple of bay leaves
- Heat the oven to 170°C (gas mark 3)
- Finely slice an onion and arrange half in the base of the pot with the thyme and sweet potatoes. Rub the chicken inside and out with paprika, garlic, salt and pepper and place the other half of the sliced onion and bashed cloves of garlic in the cavity of the bird.
- Add the chicken to the pot and then pour 1 litre of chicken stock around the sides, and tuck in the thyme and bay leaves
- Cover it tightly with foil or a lid, then place the casserole in the oven and roast for 1¾hours, basting occasionally with the pan juices.
- 20 minutes before the end of remove the lid or foil and brush a little olive oil on the skin of the bird, to encourage it to crisp up and go golden.
- Once cooked, leave the chicken to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving and serving.
- I like to eat it in a bowl with hot, buttery mash, steamed greens, the slow cooked sweet potato and soft cooking onions