Partner dude left me alone for the weekend - apparently a stag weekend was more important than me :(.
I decided to cook him a roast dinner as a surprise for when he got home, a major surprise as I seldom cook roast dinners. However, that might be about to change thanks to Nigella.
I made this little beauty - beautiful because it takes about 5 minutes preparation and then you forget about it while it cooks for 2 hours, filling the house with the scent of lemons and thyme, finally to be rewarded with the most juicy, tender chicken pieces when it is time to eat.
I also managed some perfectly roasted potatoes thanks to Delia, although I used olive oil rather than lard or dripping and didn't bother putting the baking tray over the hob - I just put the potatoes in and coated them quickly!
Some lightly steamed fine asparagus on the side made it just perfect.
Now I'm eating the left over chicken and beautifully sour/bitter lemon pieces for lunch. Perfect. It feels like spring is here at last!
The recipe, from Nigella online.
1 chicken (approx. 2-2.25kg), cut into 10 pieces (I used 4 big chicken breasts)
1 head garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
2 unwaxed lemons, cut into chunky eighths
small handful fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
150ml white wine
Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC/gas mark 3.
Put the chicken pieces into a roasting tin and add the garlic cloves, lemon chunks and the thyme; just roughly pull the leaves off the stalks, leaving some intact for strewing over later. Add the oil and using your hands mix everything together, then spread the mixture out, making sure all the chicken pieces are skin side up.
Sprinkle over the white wine and grind on some pepper, then cover tightly with foil and put in the oven to cook, at flavour-intensifyingly low heat, for 2 hours.
Remove the foil from the roasting tin, and turn up the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6. Cook the uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes (I checked mine after 20-25 minutes and the breasts were done - perhaps they do more quickly than other chicken pieces, so I just recovered it with foil while the potatoes finished off, to keep them from drying out - the lemons were carmelised at the edges too), by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelise at the edges.
If anyone else has a go at this, let me know what you think!