Simple Roast Chicken!
If I went round to someone's for dinner they always got really worried about what to cook for me. I always try to put them at ease by suggesting a simple roast chicken meal. For people on the candida diet a roast meal is often the easiest thing to cook. However, due to the necessity of getting the meat in the oven a couple of hours before you eat, you do need to be a little organised.
Although most people can easily do a roast there are still some that can't and a roast chicken is an easy place to start so here are some tips and ideas.
For your first roast start with a roast chicken. A medium roast chicken should feed about 4 people.
- Buy a chicken that is not pre-basted (when the skin is covered in other ingredients).
- Pre heat the oven to around gas mark 7 (ie turn it on about 15 minutes before you need to put the meat in.)
- Take all the packaging off the chicken and check inside the chicken that there is not a plastic bag inside full of giblets (the parts they save like the lungs, kedneys heart etc) If so take it out and throw it away.(they can be cooked but if you are this new to cooking it is best to leave these for now!)
- Wash the chicken by filling up the inside with water and tipping out the water about 3 times, particularly if the chicken has been frozen. In this case it MUST be thoroughly defrosted.
- Find a roasting tin that will fit the chicken and place the chicken upside down (breast side down) so you can see the wings facing you.
- sprinkle salt, ground pepper and ground paprika over the skin that's facing up.
- Once the oven has warmed up (on Gas mark 7) put the chicken in the oven for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes turn the chicken over and sprinkle again with salt, ground black pepper and ground paprika and put back in oven for about an hour.
- Check the chicken towards the end of the cooking as ovens vary a lot. If you can see that the bones on the legs are visible because the meat has shrunk off the bone then then the chicken should be done.
- Stab the meat with a skewer or thin long knife in the thickest part of the breast until you have nearly gone through the chicken. IF the liquid that comes out of the hole you made is clear the chicken is definitly cooked.
- Take the chicken out and cover it with tin foil and leave it to stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting it.
- To cut up the chicken into portions it is easiest to pull the legs away slightly and see where they join the body and cut through that joint. You can then divide the legs into 2 if you need to (into thighs and drumsticks) at the leg joint, by slightly pulling them apart at the middle joint and then using a sharp knife to cut through the middle of the joint.
- Then start at the side of the chicken and with a sharp knife carve slices of breast in the same direction as the middle bone of the chicken.
On the candida diet, gravy does worry people as we can't use ready made gravy.
To make the gravy with no yeast, gluten or sugar:
- 20 minutes before the chicken is due to be cooked, take the chicken out of the oven and tilt the chicken to tip out any juices that are left inside the body. Put the chicken on a plate and tip all the juices that are in the bottom of the roasting dish into a jug.
- Put the chicken back on the tray and put it back in the oven for the last 20 minutes.
- Wait 5 minutes for the juice to settle in the jug. You will notice that the fat will seperate and float to the top.
- Skim off as much of the fat as posible while saving as much of the meat juice as possible then pour the juice into small saucepan.
- Heat up the juices until they are bubbling.
- Take out the chicken and place it on the plate and cover it with tin foil. Pour some of the juices into the roasting tin that you cooked the chicken in. Using a wooden spoon scrape out what might look like burnt bits on the botton of the dish until the dish looks as clean as possible.
- Tip all those juices with any bits through a sieve back into the saucepan with the rest of the meat juices.
- Heat it all up and stir until it's all bubbling, then turn it down so it's only just bubbling.
- Meanwhile, get 1 tablespoon of cornflour and put it in a mug. Add a little cold water to this and stir until all the cornflour has been mixed with the water so you can pour the liquid.
- While the juices are still gently bubbling, gently add a little of the cornflour mixture to the juices at a time, stirring continuously until the juices have thickened. You might need more or less cornflour and water, depending on how much liquid there is. If you have cooked vegetables and need more gravy add some of the vegetable water to the juices and add more mixed cornflour.
- Add salt and ground black pepper.
To make this gravy more tasty I use some of the chicken fat that floats to the top of the juices, to fry off some cut up onions (done quite chunky) in the pan that the gravy will be made in. Once the onions are done, (all gone clear and soft) fish them out of the pan and keep them warm and then make the gravy in that pan with the fat and onion flavour that is already in there.
To make this even better the onions can be fried with a teaspoon of dried sage as well. This tastes lovely and makes you feel like you are having stuffing with your chicken as it really complements the meal.
This meal can be kept really simple, especially if you are new to cooking, by just having chips (if you can tolerate potatoes) and peas and not bothering with the gravy.
Other alternatives are steaming fresh vegetables. Try some steamed vegetables like broccoli and carrots with some new potatoes. On the candida diet new potatoes are the first potatoes to try as they are the easiest to digest and have less carbohydrates in them.
Or you could do some lovely roast vegetables. Basically, chose the vegetables you would like to roast and cut them up depending how long they take to cook so that they will all cook evenly. Carrots and potatoes and Drissle olive oil over them and put them in the top of the oven (they need to be hot) for about 40 minutes. I often do new potatoes, onions, carrots and butternut squash together.
You can then expand the recipe by laying bacon over the whole chiken to cover the skin for the last 20 minutes to add more flavour.