I like the way my mother cooks roast chicken. She first half cooks the chicken in plenty of water with vegetables, and gets a lovely stock. This also makes the chicken really tender and moist. (The stock is saved to make soup or rice later, using the left over chicken roast.) She then roasts the marinated chicken and vegetables together. This way, you make the most of the chicken and the stock, creating multiple, wonderful family meals. Please use free range (naturally reared) chicken if you can, as it really justifies the extra cost.
Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 70-75 minutes
1.5kg/3lb whole chicken, preferably free-range
500gr/12oz baby potatoes
6-7 medium carrots, cut in chunks
2 onions, quartered
6 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
1small bunch of flat leaf parsley
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Chicken marination ingredients:
Yoghurt is often used in Turkish cooking, and it is wonderful in marinating the meat, makes it tender and moist.
15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste
15ml/1 tablespoon plain natural yoghurt
30 ml/2 tablespoons olive oil
5 ml/1 teaspoon cumin
5ml/1 teaspoon Turkish (or chili) red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper
Put the chicken into a deep pan with the onions, garlic, bay leaves and the parsley. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Pour enough hot water to just cover the chicken and bring to boil. Then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add the carrots and the potatoes, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
Place the chicken and the vegetables on a roasting tray (drain the juices), and let it cool for a few minutes. (Save the stock to make soup or rice later). Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F.
Combine the marination ingredients and 1 tbsp olive oil in a bowl and mix well. Coat the chicken all over with this marination. Coat the vegetables with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken with vegetables for about 40 minutes. The skin of the chicken and the vegetables will get nice and crispy.
Test the doneness by sticking a skewer deep into the thickest part of the thigh and see if the juices run clear. If the juices are pink, it means the chicken is under done. So allow another 10-15 minutes cooking time and test again.
Once cooked, let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before carving. Cucumber and yoghurt dip with mint, Cacik (under “Mezes and Appetizers”) goes well with the roast chicken and vegetables.