Is there anything more comforting, iconic and quintessentially delicious than a whole roast chicken? Think of its soft, juicy meat, wrapped in a bronzed taught skin, surrounded by a puddle of juices and perched on a bed of perfectly seasoned veggies – there, you have your answer. Being able to master the perfect roast chicken is a rite of passage for every meat eater.
The key to perfectly seasoned, succulent chicken is by using a very simple technique which will transform the way you cook meat. Dry brining, or pre-salting simply means rubbing salt and sometimes seasoning or sugar directly onto the meat and allowing it to rest in the fridge for a period of time before cooking. This is the easiest way to achieve tender, seasoned meat where nature does most of the world for you. The salt initially draws out the moisture through osmosis. This moisture, which is the juices of the meat, are then dissolved by the salt, creating a natural brine that puddles on the surface of the meat. This brine is eventually reabsorbed into the meat and starts to break down the tough muscle proteins. Et voilà – meat that has been tenderised and seasoned before even hitting the pan.The amount of salt needed for dry brining may seem daunting or the time needed intimidating but try this technique and you will need no further convincing. Say auf wiedersehen to dry, tasteless chicken from now and forever.
A classic roast chicken can be your go-to dish in any circumstance or occasion. Both homely and elegant, it never fails to take centre stage on the table and lift spirits. For me it’s a dish that signifies kindness and abundance, and then of course there is the token love gesture of the oyster. Follow this recipe for a fail-safe way to cook the perfect roast chicken.
Best enjoyed in good company and with an allowance for mucky fingers.