I’m sitting on a farm in the Natal Midlands with seriously free-range chickens clucking around me. I’m surprised at how easily I can imagine what great dinners they’ll make. You may gasp, but I’d rather eat these gorgeous, healthy birds than those manky white things called battery chickens.
But let’s get back to the bird that’s already been in my oven.
Everybody eats roast chicken. It’s the floozy of meats; the go-to gourmet; the all-pleasing poultry.
We’re in the middle of a blazing hot summer and roast chicken with rys en artappels won’t go down that easily. Plus – isn’t it SOOO boring? The poor chicken is already so everyday, it deserves a bit of zhuzhing up.
So we’ll spice it up, clean it off with some citrus and cool it down with coriander.
Orange and Coriander Roast Chicken
Serves 4 or more
1 medium free range chicken
Generous sprinklings of chicken braai spice
Bunch of coriander
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Place the hefty bird in a roasting pan. Squeeze orange juice all over your whole chicken, making sure to get it in all the nooks and crannies. Slice the squeezed half and insert it into the cavity. (I know that sounds awful, but just try not to think about it.
Sprinkle the chicken with the braai spice so that it almost forms a coating. Stick a handful of coriander in the cavity as well as some around the dish.
Pop it in the oven for an hour or so – prob an hour and 20 minutes depending on the size – and watch it turn the most glorious colour. Turn the chicken over half-way through the cooking time, and then back again for the last 10 minutes.
If your colouring is less than glorious, sprinkle some salt for shine and brush with a little bit of olive oil. I usually forego the oil as the chicken skin is fat aplenty.
Garnish with slices of orange, some zest and the rest of the coriander.
Serve with a green salad or a cold couscous and veg salad. Leftovers can be shredded for chicken mayo, a lovely chicken and corn broth should the weather suddenly turn, or simply take yourself a doggy bag to work. The flavours will intensify overnight.