Monday, 23 January 2012

Roast Chicken and Potatoes--Don’t Worry! This isn’t Curry! (I lie!)

Even picky eaters will eat this mild roasted chicken curry.

Roast Chicken and Potatoes--Don’t Worry!  This isn’t Curry!
(On the other hand, this takes a long time to cook, so don't be in a hurry!)

We have the blonde members of the family coming over tonight, and they’re strictly plain meat and veg.  Oh well, what they don’t know can’t hurt them.  Right?  We’ll see.  Hopefully one day they’ll not only grow used to the redolent aromas of garlic and ginger, they’ll even begin to crave them.  But you have to start somewhere, so this recipe for a very subtle, mild curry is the beginning. 

The Masala

1 cinnamon stick
2 green cardamom
1 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced into coins
½ teaspoon cumin seed
½ teaspoon coriander seed
2 fresh garlic cloves
½ teaspoon ground turmeric (reserve this)
a few grates of freshly ground pepper (a little later)
Reserving the cinnamon, smash the dry whole spices in a mortar and pestle.  Don't worry about removing the husks, or grinding them fine, because they'll be inside the chicken cavity.

The Chicken and Veg

1 roasting chicken sized right for your family  I’m using a five pound bird.  (If you’re using a smaller one, cut down on the cooking times, and add your vegetables earlier.)
halved or quartered potatoes, enough to fill a quarter of your pan, or however many you think they’ll eat.  Cut them according to their size—you don’t want the pieces so small they’ll cook too fast and get mushy, but you don’t want them so big they have no chance of cooking in an hour.
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces, thicker ones halved
1 small cauliflower broken into large pieces, or a portion of a big one
2 butternut squashes cut into 2x 1 inch pieces
2 sweet red peppers cut into 2 inch strips
2 oranges- one squeezed, the other sliced into ¼ rounds
course salt for washing, about ¼ cup

Wash your chicken with course salt, in the cavities and outside, under the wings, scrub.  Rinse like mad, being sure to fill up the cavities and drain them well, several times.  You don’t want this much salt in your dinner, trust me, but you won’t be able to rinse it all out, so it’ll be seasoned.  Pat with paper towels to dry it, inside and out.
Put the masala into the cavity reserving the turmeric. 
Sprinkle the turmeric on the outside of the chicken and grate a little pepper over the bird.  Black pepper activates the healthy compounds in the turmeric, so you always want to serve them together!
Use a large enough non-stick roasting pan for everything.  Heat the oven to 350 and put in the chicken.  Cook for one hour, take it out, baste the chicken, add the veg, pour the orange juice over the chicken and drape the orange slices over it.  By now, you should have enough oils and juices in the bottom of the pan for the veg to nicely roast and carmelize.  Cook for another two hours, till chicken is at 180 F on the thermometer, and vegetables are soft.  (The vegetables slow the cooking down quite a bit.) Remove the chicken and tent with tin foil to let it gather its thoughts, or let the molecules stop bouncing, for about ten minutes.  Crank the heat up to 500, and let the vegetables carmelize while you're waiting for the chicken to cool.

Heap onto a large platter and dig in.  Don’t even mention the words curry recipe!


  1. This sounds really good. I have a picky eater sister in law, I'm going to try and get this one past her.

    Meanwhile my daughter in law has just signed up for a cooking trip to India, lucky girl.

  2. Yes, as you can see from the picture, especially the blurry hand madly going for seconds and thirds, nobody suspected a thing. Your daughter in law is lucky. Do you know where she's going?