Fragrant herb roast chicken

I’m really getting quite proud of myself for scoring two cooking/baking coups in two days – first with yesterday’s successful attempt at a ridiculously easy banana cake, and today’s roast chicken that was so aromatic and flavourful that I surprised even myself.

I recently bought a rosemary and a basil plant from the supermarket – by accident actually, under the incorrect impression that they were going at 2 for £2 – and have been quite liberal with using herbs in my dishes as a result. I’m not certain if the herbs made a key difference to the flavour of the dish, but am tending towards that conclusion from the scent of rosemary that filled the house as the chicken was roasting.

Here’s the recipe – no exact measurements as my cooking is all about adjusting to tastes!

Step 1: Marinating

  • Chicken thigh pieces (I’m sure chicken breast, or bone-in chicken will work too)
  • Smoked paprika (I’m discovering that a heavy hand in seasoning paprika yields the best results)
  • Soy sauce
  • Dash of pepper, salt, cumin and chilli flakes (optional)

I’m convinced that with the exception of steaks and seafood, good tasting meat requires marination for the flavours to seep in. I usually leave the seasoned meat overnight in the fridge, as it’s too much of a rush to do it in the morning and the brief 30min to an hour that I’d get after work isn’t long enough to properly marinate meat in my opinion.

Also, I’m finding that a touch of soy sauce makes all the difference. The other day I tried a roast chicken recipe that simply called for lemon juice, golden syrup, salt and pepper – even after sitting for more than 24 hours with a dash of cumin, chilli flakes and a few other herbs, the chicken had barely any taste to it. I much prefer the stronger, full bodied flavour that Asian seasonings provide.

Step 2: Pre-roast and Roast

  • Springs of rosemary
  • Springs of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Touch of lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice

I added the lemon and zest, then pulled some rosemary leaves from the stalks and scattered them, together with the chopped basil, over the chicken – placing the remaining rosemary stalks over the chicken as well.

As I had some new baby potatoes, I quartered them – with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper and more chopped basil – and placed them at the bottom of the roasting dish beneath the chicken.

All that’s left is to place the chicken in the pre-heated oven (160 deg, fan-assisted) for about 40min and viola! You’ll have yourself an extremely fragrant herb roasted chicken.

I wish I had taken a picture when the chicken came out of the oven but it’s always “eat first, photos later” for me. Perhaps I’ll remember to do that the next time!



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