Mediterranean Roast Chicken

Mediterranean Roast Chicken

There are more ways of cooking chicken than there are recipe sites on the internet, indeed I have added quite a few here at the bug. 

This particular method for roasting chicken allows for a long, gentle roast, utilising fresh Mediterranean flavours.  This is a great way to serve chicken either as a lunch or dinner meal.  I find this is particularly well suited to popping in the oven on a Sunday afternoon while pottering in the garden so that it is ready when I come in at the end of the day.  The tomatoes, pinenuts and anchovies add a great subtle flavour to the chicken – it is actually hard to pinpoint what it is if you cannot see them.

1 free-range, organic chicken
2 Spanish onions
4 large ripe tomatoes
6 anchovy fillets
50 grams pine nuts
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup crisp white wine
Sprigs of fresh oregano
Sprigs of thyme
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper
1 tablespoon of butter
Pinch of nutmeg
Zest of an orange
A little olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 150°C

Trim excess fat from your chicken and place it underneath the bird in a heavy (Le Creuset!) baking tray.
Cut slits into the tops of the tomatoes and press four of the anchovy fillets down into the middle of the tomatoes, place the tomatoes at each corner of the baking dish.
In a small dish, whip the butter together with the two remaining anchovies, the orange zest, nutmeg, some thyme, salt and pepper.  Gently lift the skin back on the chicken and squish the flavoured butter down under the skin to moisten the breast as the chicken cooks.
Cut the onions into quarters and nestle them around the chicken with the whole garlic cloves. 
Add the herbs to the baking tray and sprinkle over the pinenuts.
Add the wine to the baking tray and cover the bird with a layer of baking paper then two layers of foil, ensuring the chicken is entirely sealed into the tray.

Bake in a low oven for two and a half hours.  The flesh should be meltingly tender and falling away from the bone.
Remove the foil and baking paper and increase the temperature of the oven to 210°C. 
Drain off the stock – reserve this it makes a tremendous base for soup.

If you would like roast potatoes with your chicken, par-boil them with a little of the chicken stock and add them at this stage for high-baking.

Return the chicken to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes – long enough to burnish the skin, scorch the tomatoes and brown the potatoes if you are having them.
Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for at least ten minutes before serving with fresh beans and a sprinkle of the toasted pinenuts.