Sunday, May 15, 2016

Jamie's Food Revolution Recipes Series: Roasted Sumac Chicken...

I am not surprised to see roast chicken on Jamie's top ten recipes to save your life. It is something I do with my family often especially if I'm scratching my head on what to make or need a simple no-fuss protein to complement a bunch of veggies. Roasting whole chicken is super easy to do (rub, stuff and leave to roast), and cooked to crispy on the outside, juicy moist on the inside, it is a sure bet meal your whole family will eat and enjoy. And part of the fun is the combination of flavour rubs and/or ingredient stuffings to make it different and creative some or every time. Although I typically do a basic salt and pepper rub with a lemon, onions and garlic stuffing, tonight in creating my own twist ode to Jamie's bird roast, I thought how cool would it be to change it up simply with sumac in the rub-- a tart lemony berry spice I adore and is commonly used in Persian dishes. And what a perfect Sunday dinner it will be with a roast chicken and some healthy sides. We are a family of five so I typically look for a 3-1/2 pounder (1.75 kg) to make a roast for dinner and easily have leftovers for the next day for another meal-- meat for lunch sandwich, shredded chicken for fajitas or chicken soup (also making a broth from the carcass). I also love this size because it fits just right in my toaster oven and saves me from using the big oven unnecessarily and wasting energy. 

This is what I do to get a perfect roast...

Roasted Sumac Chicken
For a 3-1/2 lb. whole chicken

1.75 kg (3-1/2 lb.) whole chicken
salt and ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into quarters and pricked all over (to release juice and steam inside chicken)
1 small onion, cut into quarters
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. ground sumac

Preheat toaster oven/oven to 375 F. Rub the inside cavity of the chicken with salt and ground black pepper. Stuff with lemon, onion and garlic. Citrus gives a juicier bird and makes it fragrant when it steams. 

Place chicken breast-side up on rack (optional) on foil-lined roasting pan. Rub all over surface and bottom with salt and pepper. Mix softened butter, mustard and sumac into a paste; spread and rub all over and into chicken crevices. Untie the legs and tuck wings underneath (if difficult to tuck, wrap tips with a bit of foil). TIP: I find the skin of the legs are crispier when not bound together.

Use plastic disposable gloves to make rubbing mess-free.

Meanwhile, I prepared my sides-- sautéed butter and garlic green beans, grilled zucchini, steamed sweet potatoes and quinoa tossed with chopped spinach.

Roast chicken, uncovered for 1-3/4 hours or until leg moves easily and thermometer reads 170F in thickest part of thigh. TIP: I like to roast for 3/4 hour, then turn it upside down to roast the bottom for another 3/4 hour. I turn up the dial to broil at 450F for the last ten minutes to crisp up the skin. This also allows the juice to drip down and baste the breast making it more succulent. I turn the heat back down to 375F and flip the bird around one last time roasting the remainder of the time until thoroughly cooked.

Remove chicken onto cutting board and tent loosely with foil for ten minutes; this allows the chicken to rest, juice to redistribute and to firm up for easier slicing. Pour out the cooked chicken liquid from the roasting pan into a bowl and skim off the fat to serve as gravy if desired.

I like to carve the chicken into wings, legs and breasts (6 pieces) in total which gets divided up again at the table. Usually the kids have the drumsticks and a thigh, my husband a thigh and wing, and I, the back and a wing. The kids are getting bigger and hungrier, so we dig into part of the breasts but sometimes there is meat leftover for chicken sandwiches or part of dinner the next day. 

And there is our lazy Sunday roast chicken dinner with ample sides for choosing or having a bit of everything.

Digging in...

Sumac imparts a wonderful fragrance and lemony touch to the skin! Just a perky perfect rub for chicken! 

For more roast chicken recipes, check them out on Jamie Oliver's site.

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