It’s Friday afternoon and I can feel the gentler pace of the weekend creeping in. Too often my weekends are poles apart from my weekdays. While the week is full of chaos and running from home to work and back, my weekends are spent in a slow motion. The slowdown brought by the end of the week changes everything. As I approach the weekend, everything in me inside and out slows down as well. I am openly and willingly admitting that, naturally I am a slow person. And I love it. The art of slow living gives me such inner peace that sometimes, if assigned to do something I fall in love with the process more than the final product.
It’s Sunday late afternoon and I am listening to Matt Simons sing catch and release on Spotify. We have just walked in the front door less than an hour ago from our usual Sunday walk in the nature, walks that I so dearly love and adore. The wildflowers blooming, the sound of the stream, the birds singing, the soft wind blowing, the quietness of the woods and fresh breath clears the cobwebs in my mind and soothes my heart. We walked in the front door and I peeled a sweet potato, chopped some carrots and halved a lemon, seasoned a whole chicken with garlic butter and threw everything in the oven to slowly roast. And now, as I lay here on the sofa listening to catch and release all I can think of is the smell that comes from the oven. Oh my! The savoury and piquant smell of a roasting chicken is just out of this space! Every time I happen to make a little trip to the kitchen, I would stand on the oven just to sniff the sensational hot air gushing out of the oven and when the long awaited minute of busting the chicken finally arrives, I’ll get all giggling as I slightly open the oven door and my nose will be greeted by that extra intense sniff. You see it’s the little things in life that makes us happy.
In my growing arsenal of roasted meals, this chicken is among the top 3 and what makes it unique is the use of sweet potatoes, or so I believe. Their tangy sweetness seems to ooze very well with the chicken. In the Kenyan Cuisine, these vegetables are among the easiest to love and either grilled/roasted, boiled or cooked in coconut milk, they have a unique way to deliver their unique taste. Did I mention that I also added some fresh ginger to this dish? Oh and shallots! So many goodies in one pan!!!
Of all the culinary pleasures in the world, my favourite is eating a crispy, well-seasoned skin of a roasted chicken and I am firm you’ll all agree with me that is it for certain one of life’s finer things.
Below are 2 simple tips for getting a crispy skin.
1. Let the chicken stand at room temperature uncovered for one hour before cooking.
2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels so skin doesn’t steam in oven.
If you do these two things, in addition to letting the bird rest for 10 minutes before carving, your roast chicken will be divine — crispy skin, golden brown all around, juicy meat.
1 whole chicken
6 – 8 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 lemon, halved
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
3 medium shallots, halved or quartered
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
Fresh thyme for the vegetables
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by first preparing the chicken. Remove giblets from the chicken, trim any excess fat from and around the bird’s cavity then rinse and dry it thoroughly. The drier the chicken, the crispier the skin will be
Tie the legs together with a kitchen twine and place the bird in a baking dish or a roasting pan. Let the chicken sit at room temperature uncovered for one hour before roasting
Prepare the vegetables by placing them in a large bowl and drizzling with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and thyme. Toss to combine and set aside
Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius
Generously season chicken both inside and out with salt and pepper
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat and add the minced garlic, fry till the garlic is soft. Brush the melted garlic-butter all over the bird including the cavity. Place the two halved lemons and the rosemary sprigs inside the cavity. Place the prepared vegetables around the chicken
Roast the chicken for 1 hour basting it in between using a spoon and titling the pan to collect some juice and spooning it on top of the chicken
Once done, remove the chicken from the roasting pan and transfer it to a cutting board to serving platter. Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving
Serve with accompanying vegetables and enjoy!