At home we like to roast chicken very simply. The chicken is always organic because it is the only way to be sure that the birds have had a decent life.
Otherwise, in intensive farming systems, you can’t verify how they are treated: chickens don’t write anonymous letters! When you have the time, the supreme way of roasting a good chicken is to brine it first, which makes a dramatic difference, keeping the meat really moist and juicy. I like to roast some potatoes and vegetables around the chicken as it cooks. For six people I would mix 3 courgettes, 3 carrots and 3 stalks of celery (all cut into chunks) in a bowl with 4 potatoes (quartered), around 4 sprigs of rosemary and 10 cloves of garlic. I would toss them all with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, season them and then put them into the roasting pan around the chicken. Halfway through cooking I add a wine glass (70mls) of water.
chickens 2 medium (about 1.5kg),
free-range or preferably organic
For the brine:
sea salt 120g
fresh rosemary 5 sprigs
bay leaves 4
peppercorns 1 tablespoon
juniper berries 1 teaspoon
garlic 4 cloves
lemon peel of 1
1 Put all the brine ingredients into a pan with 3 litres of water and bring to the boil until the salt has dissolved, then take off the heat and leave to infuse as the brine cools down. 2 Put the chickens into a container just big enough to hold them, pour the brine over and leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours to tenderise and flavour the flesh.
3 Preheat the oven to 180ÆC/gas 4. 4 Remove the chickens from the brine, put into a roasting pan and roast for about 45 minutes, or until the juices run clear if you pierce the thighs with the tip of a sharp knife