Roast chicken has to be one of my favourite comfort foods. And it’s also super economical to make. Even if there’s just two of you a roast chicken is a cheap and delicious way to eat meat because you can use every little part of it. This particular recipe makes use of the chicken roasting juices to cook broccoli – it basically transforms the broccoli into a glazed umami rich side that you’ll be having future cravings for.
I served this with hasselback sweet potatoes to round out the meal but you could just go with a salad for something lighter. If there’s just two of you then you’re going to have leftover chicken, you can use this in sandwiches, rice paper rolls, salads or in my favourite way in Roast Chicken Noodles. I highly recommend picking the bones clean and storing the chicken in your fridge off the bone. This way you can make a stock with the bones either immediately or chuck them in the freezer until you have the time. Stock can be so expensive, and making your own is relatively easy.
Start this recipe the day ahead for maximum juiciness and depth of flavour in your chicken, however it’ll still be tasty if you skip the brining part – just try it some time when you have the time.
1 head of broccoli
1.5kg whole organic free range chicken (or best you can afford)
2 cloves garlic
a few sprigs of thyme (or sage or both!)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
10 cups water
2/3 cup salt
a handful of parsley
1 tsp all spice berries
1 cinnamon stick
1 garlic clove
The day before: Combine the salt and water in a pot along with the parsley, all spice, cinnamon, garlic and cloves (keep everything whole. Heat gently until the salt is dissolved then leave to cool (can place in the fridge to speed this up. Once completely cool submerge the chicken in this (or transfer to a large enough container that will fit in your fridge) and leave to soak in the fridge for 24 hours or as close to as you can, even 4 hours will make a for a juicier bird.
The day of feasting: Now it’s roast time.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Remove the chicken from the water and pat dry. Cut the lemon in half, thirds or quarters and along with the thyme and garlic cloves insert into the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken in a smallish tray, you want a snug fit so the juices pool rather than evaporate. Massage a few drops of olive oil into the skin. Season.
Once the oven is preheated place the chicken in. Cook at 200 for 20 minutes then reduce to 190. Cook for 20 minutes per 500grams then add 20 minutes on at the end. About halfway through your cook time combine the maple syrup and remaining olive oil and brush this all over the chicken. If the skin isn’t golden when you’re nearing the end turn the temperature back up for the last 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the tray (do not wash it you need the juices in the bottom of this) and cover in foil on a warm plate, it is going to rest for 15-20 minutes.
While the chicken rests, slice your broccoli in half then in thirds so you have nice long pieces. Put these in the tray the chicken had been cooking in and toss to coat in the chicken glaze. Turn the oven back up to 200. Cook the broccoli in the oven for 15- 20 minutes or until tender and golden, turning at least 3 times during this time.
Now you can carve the chicken and serve the broccoli. If you brined the chicken you will probably find that the marylands pretty much fall away as you go to remove them. This is a very good sign. Pat yourself on the back.
Waste less note: Save the chicken bones and make stock!