If I had a penny for every roast chicken that has been served at my family dinner table, I'd be inheriting a hefty sum. For that reason, one might think I'd be tired of this dish, but on the contrary, I still look forward to Friday night dinner all week and to me, nostalgia always makes food taste better. Not to mention, if someone were actually so generous as to give me a penny for each time roast chicken was served at my table, I wouldn't mind making it a daily thing...
Usually, it's my Mom who cooks this delicious meal, but I thought it was about time I paid her back a few pennies and took a whack at it... Now, I must admit that even I could never beat my mother in a cook-off, after-all I owe it her (and of course a few of the old great-grandparents) for the (I'd like to think) nifty skills I've been blessed with.
(I think I did a pretty good job but I did have to call my mother back into the kitchen for a little 'Carving a Chicken' seminar... notes to follow)YOU WILL NEED:
1 LARGE WHOLE CHICKEN
4 LARGE WHITE ONIONS
3 GARLIC CLOVES
1 PACK FRESH THYME
4 WHOLE LEMONS
3 CHICKEN STOCK CUBES
SALT AND PEPPER
3 CUPS QUINOA
1 PACK CAULIFLOWER
Rinse the chicken and remove the (sorry to be gross) intestines and giblets from the cavity. Place the bird (and what you have just taken out of it) in a large baking tray. Slice three of the onions and sprinkle around the chicken in the tray. Put some of the onion slices inside the cavity of the bird.
Rub olive oil all over bird including inside the cavity and season with salt.
Place two of the chicken stock cubes on a paper towel and heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. This will allow the cube to crumble easily. Once you've done this, rub the chicken cube powder all over the chicken, including inside and around the onions too. Place two of the garlic cloves in the chicken's cavity and one in the tray along with the onions.
Evenly pour about 4 tablespoons of olive oil around the onions.
Sprinkle the fresh thyme around the chicken, place some inside the cavity of the chicken and rub some over and under the skin.
Cut the lemons in half. Rub the lemons on the bird and squeeze the juice of the lemons on, inside and around the chicken. Leave one lemon inside the cavity of the bird and the rest to roast with onions.
Allow the bird to cook on 200 degrees Celsius for approximately an hour and a half. (You will have to turn it over three quarters of the way through.)
After around 10 minutes of roasting, pour 3 cups of warm water on and around the chicken in it's tray. Continue to add water every 12 minutes or whenever the liquid is starting to evaporate. (This will help you accomplish the best gravy.
Whilst the magic in the oven is happening, rinse 3 cups of quinoa in cold water. Add 5 and a half cups of boiling water to a pot with the quinoa. Add a pinch of salt and once it's boiling cover the pot and bring down to a very low heat.
Make sure the cauliflower is in small pieces and pour two tablespoons of olive oil in a zip lock bag along with 1 tablespoon of garlic paste, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Place the cauliflower in the zip lock bag, close it securely and shake. (Allowing the cauliflower to be evenly flavoured).
Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden.
Chop and saute one large onion in a pan and once softened and slightly brown add the cauliflower to the pan.
Mix the onions and cauliflower in with the cooked quinoa.
Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon and a teaspoon of lemon zest.