© David Loftus
Empire Roast Chicken
Ask any British person what their two favorite meals are and I reckon most people would say their mumís roast chicken, and a curry. Well, welcome to Empire roast chicken, a combination of both of those things. Your friends and family are going to love it. I love it. You will love it.
Slash the chickenís legs a few times right down to the bone. Get a baking sheet slightly bigger than the chicken, then add all of the marinade ingredients and mix together well. Put on a pair of clean rubber gloves, then really massage those flavors over and inside the chicken so itís smeared everywhere. Donít be shy! Ideally marinate overnight in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 400įF and organize the oven rack so the baking sheet can sit right at the bottom, the chicken can sit directly above it, right on the rack, and the potatoes can go at the top. Halve any larger potatoes, then parboil them in a large pan of salted boiling water with a whole lemon for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Drain the potatoes then let them steam dry. Stab the lemon a few times with a sharp knife and put it right into the chickenís cavity. Move the chicken to a plate.
Roughly chop the onions and add to the baking sheet along with the cinnamon stick, cloves, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, then whisk in the flour. Pour in the stock or water, then place this right at the bottom of the oven. Place the chicken straight on to the bars of the middle shelf, above the baking sheet. Cook for 1 hour 20 minutes.
Put another sturdy baking sheet over a medium heat and add the olive oil, a knob of butter, the mustard and cumin seeds, garam masala and turmeric Ė work quickly because if the fat gets too hot the mustard seeds will pop everywhere. Halve a bulb of garlic and add it straight to the pan, with the sliced chile and chopped tomatoes. Add your drained potatoes to the tray, mix everything together, then season well. Finely slice and scatter in the cilantro stalks, and keep the leaves in a bowl of water for later. After the chicken has been in for 40 minutes, put the potatoes in.
Once the chicken is cooked, move it to a board and carefully peel off the dark charred bits to reveal perfect chicken underneath. Pass the gravy through a coarse sieve into a pan, whisking any sticky goodness from the pan as you go. Bring to the boil and either cook and thicken or thin down with water to your preference. Put it into a serving bowl and drizzle over a little yogurt. Get your potatoes out of the oven and put them into a serving bowl, then serve the chicken on a board next to the sizzling roasties and hot gravy. Sprinkle the reserved cilantro leaves over everything and serve with any condiments you like. Life doesnít get much better.
For the chicken and marinade
. 2 ľ lb preferably higher welfare chicken
. 1 heaped tablespoon each finely grated garlic, fresh ginger and fresh red chile
. 1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree
. 1 heaped teaspoon each of ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala and ground cumin
. 2 heaped teaspoons plain yogurt
. 2 lemons
. 2 teaspoons sea salt
For the gravy
. 3 small red onions, peeled
. 1 stick of cinnamon
. 10 cloves
. 3 tablespoons each of white wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce
. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
. 2 cups organic chicken stock
. optional: plain yogurt, to serve
For the Bombay-style potatoes
. 1 ĺ lbs new potatoes
. sea salt and ground pepper
. 1 lemon
. 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
. a knob of butter
. 1 heaped teaspoon each of black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garam masala and turmeric
. 1 bulb of garlic
. 1 fresh red chile, deseeded and finely sliced
. 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
. 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro