This past weekend I picked up a beautiful roasting chicken at the Chester City Indoor Market. We are so lucky to have an indoor market here in our lovely city . . . and other than a few odds and sods, there is not much you can't get there . . . cheeses, eggs, fresh produce, baked goods, fish, meats and poultry. There is literally everything there and all reasonably priced and all out of the elements, dry and warm.
Source: rte.ie via Marie on Pinterest
I decided to roast it using my favourite recipe for roasting chicken, which is one that I have adapted from a recipe I found in Rachel Allen's book, Rachel's Food for Living. I just love Rachel Allen's recipes. They are not too fiddly and well written, and I have always been able to adapt them to my own methods and tastes.
It helps when you are going to roast a chicken to have a really good chicken to begin with. I love buying my roasting chickens from a butcher. They are normally air dried which means that the skin gets really crisp and flavourful . . . not like a grocery store chicken which has spent days sweating under plastic cling film. They may not be as pretty to look at as the grocery shop chicken . . . but there is no real comparison when it comes to taste . . . a free range Butcher's chicken just plain tastes better. It tastes like chicken is supposed to taste.
I don't change a thing when it comes to Rachel's lemon and herb stuffing. It is her mother's recipe and pretty hard to beat . . . soft bread crumbs, gently softened onion, butter, herbs . . . lemon, both the zest and the juice . . . and of course salt and pepper. It doesn't get much better than that.
I love to rub my roasting chickens with lots and lots of butter. It just gives it a nice colour and flavour and I sprinkle it with plenty of sea salt, black pepper and some more of the thyme which was used in the stuffing. Now here's where I vary from her method. I like to cut up potatoes and sweet potatoes (if I have them) and lay them around the chicken in the roasting dish. I dot them with some of the fat which I have pulled out from the inside of the chicken . . . and of course season once again with more salt and pepper and a few sprigs of herbs.