Grant Allen dishes up various ways to serve your chook.
My answer to that old chestnut: "What would you choose as your last meal?" has two answers: a fillet steak cooked rare, served with bearnaise sauce, creamed potatoes and asparagus, or roast chicken with gravy, potatoes crisped in duck fat, and a cos salad.
As such, I am always up for roasting a chicken and this is my favourite way. Some call this method French roasting.
First, find a beautiful chicken - 1.5kg is a good size to serve 4 and still have some left over for the next day.
1 Set your oven to medium.
2 Rinse the chicken in cold water, dry it with a paper towel and, if you like, stuff it with a whole peeled onion and half a lemon.
3 Depending on how tidy you want the roast to look, tie or skewer the back legs and the front wings close to the body.
4 Sit the chicken in a generous roasting pan breast side up. Season with lots of salt and pepper and cover the bottom 1.5cm of the pan with cold water.
5 Push a good 2tbs of butter on to the chicken. If you're avoiding butter use 1tbsp of olive oil.
6 Place the chicken in the middle of the oven and baste every 10-15 mins till cooked and golden. If the water dries out (which it shouldn't) add a little more.
7 When cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and rest it covered for at least 15 minutes.
8 The juices/water left in the pan become the "stock" to make your gravy. Serve with roasted potatoes, kumara and other vegetables that you like, some greens (that may include frozen peas) or just some roasted potatoes and a crisp green salad.
How to pick your chick:
Chickens produced for eating are raised in various ways.
Organic: Will be free ranging and must come from a registered organic farm.
Free Range/Free Farmed: Allowed to move around freely and exhibit natural behaviour. Will have shade and shelter and may be raised in barns.
Corn Fed: Relates to the diet/feed given to create a particular flavour. Not caged.
All other birds: Cage farmed.
Note: NZ labelling laws are quite loose. If you are concerned about the life your chicken had, contact the RNZSPCA Blue Tick scheme.
* Grant Allen, a former restaurateur, runs an Auckland bespoke catering service called COOK. See Grant's Facebook page here.