The secret of how to make the perfect roast chicken

Chef Kevin Bingham cooks Chicken with apple and smoked paprika. Picture: Allan Hutchings (124130-197)
Chef Kevin Bingham cooks Chicken with apple and smoked paprika. Picture: Allan Hutchings (124130-197)

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I have a bit of a treat for all you readers this week, as I’m going to be sharing with you a recipe that I’ve created just for you.

It is, in my opinion, the perfect roast chicken.

The chefs and I have spent a fair few hours devising the best way to prepare and roast the chicken to ensure the maximum amount of flavour. Chicken is invariably associated with comfort food and a quick fix for those in a rush to make dinner. It is definitely an under-rated meat that is mass-produced and inevitably the majority of people never see its full potential.

The chicken I have used is from a farm in East Anglia that produces chickens with the only traceable food line in Europe. This is because the farm rears the birds and produces its own feed on site, so the whole process has the least amount of ‘food miles’ money can buy.

When we talk about ‘food miles’ it is important to remember that any chicken that travels more than necessary will undoubtedly lose quality and become a sub-standard bit of produce.

This is why, I think, chicken is not as popular in restaurants or on our dinner tables. It is so easily and readily available in the UK as it will start its life in Brazil or some far off country, where they are injected with water to bulk them up. This makes them look more presentable and it’s a lot cheaper to farm them this way.

So, it’s important to know where your chicken comes from to get the best out of it.

· Kevin Bingham is chef patron of Restaurant 27 in Southsea. Call (023) 9287 6272.

Chicken with apple and smoked paprika

Equipment:

Two roasting trays

Sharp knife

Mixing bowl

Tin foil

Wooden spoon

Bucket for brining

Ingredients:

One chicken

½ cup of salt

½ gallon of water

Two apples, quartered

One onion, peeled and chopped

Small sprig of thyme

½ tsp smoked paprika

2oz butter, softened

Method:

For the brine, warm the water and pour into the bucket and add salt. Stir until dissolved.

When the brine is cold place the chicken in and leave for 12 hours.

Remove chicken and place on a tea towel. Dab dry with kitchen towel. Place in fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the paprika to the softened butter.

Take your mixing bowl and add the apple, onion and thyme, and mix with light seasoning.

Tear off two large sheets of foil and place in roasting tray ready to wrap chicken.

Remove chicken from the fridge and carefully push the butter under the skin starting at the crown.

Stuff the chicken with the mix, making sure it is packed tightly. Place the chicken on the foil and wrap to form a parcel.

Preheat your oven to gas mark seven and cook for 30 minutes. Then turn the oven down to gas mark three for 90 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven and turn up to gas mark eight. Unwrap the chicken, carefully pouring off the juices and keeping to one side. Remove from foil and place chicken on to fresh roasting tray and cook for 10 to 15 minutes to crispen.

Use the stuffing and juices to make a floral and full-flavoured gravy.

· Save the carcass for next week’s recipe.