Roast chicken is part of the collective imagination of our childhood, smelling of Sunday and filling the whole house with the smell of slightly toasted skin. An authentic and very affordable food feast of which we have spoken to you on several occasions with recipes such as this baked chicken from Carmen Tia Alia or this other, with memories of Pakus to her grandmother.
From many of them we have learned the guidelines to make a good whole roast chicken, regardless of whether our oven was conventional, steam or convection, but knowing that each master has its own booklet and that, even with few ingredients, embroidering a roast chicken is not so easy.
Reason why today we stand in the kitchen with Javier Brichetto, Argentine chef from the Madrid restaurant Piantao, which embroiders the world of barbecued grills and you will find in delivery in mid-May, like its barbecue, its vegetables and of course, its grilled chicken.
How to make juicy baked chicken breasts
Mistakes I no longer make
The theory with a roast chicken is the sea of simple. An animal, an oven and a clock. The practice, as in almost everything, is not so easy, or it was not in my case and there was more than one stumble in this world.
Therefore, to try to give you a hand if you have not yet tamed the world of roast chicken, we have put ourselves to work so that your next roast chicken is perfect.
Hurry is bad counselor and, humble as it may be, chicken meat also deserves the same respect than if we had a suckling lamb or a sirloin in our hands. If we take the noblest meats out of the refrigerator for a while before, chicken, however cheap it may be, too.
“A quarter of an hour may be enough to temper the chicken,” says Javier, although if we have a little more margin, nothing bad will come of it to our winged friend.
This simple thermal issue is very easy to understand: the colder it is, the longer it will take to cook. What’s more, the sudden temperature shock will cause the chicken meat to shrink, being even drier.
Something similar happens with the preheating of the oven. “Heat up and down, 180º and 15 minutes for the oven to be ready”, indicates Javier
Short of seasoning
Being stingy with salt and pepper in roasts is a mistake that has a difficult solution. Even more if we do not strive to season well inside and out.
We have to admit that chicken meat is naturally bland -Except that we leave a few euros more in raw material- and that it needs salt and pepper to achieve a certain grace.
Javier, taking the plate a step above, makes for his grilled chicken a marinade that you can emulate at home. “We use chipotle pasta, which also adds a smoky touch, oil, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, a pinch of cumin, fresh thyme and some citrus fruits such as lime and orange,” he says, although there is one more ingredient that he does not admit – chef’s secret – and others, which he does not use, but which are very practical. “You can use Coca-Cola because it leaves a very crisp, almost lacquered skin,” he says.
“They are all accessible and we can find them easily and the chipotle is in any Latin food store,” he adds. “Later, We crush the entire mixture in the turmix and rub the chicken with it, including between the skin and the meat, “he says.
“Two or three hours is enough although you can leave it to marinate for a whole day but the flavor can be very intense “, he advises.
Other options include slide butter between the skin of the chicken, resort to aromatic herbs such as rosemary or thyme in that scrub, rub with olive oil or distillates. Not to mention the eternal filling with lemon, alcohols, herbs or onion, which give a great aroma to the interior of the chicken.
The butterfly cut
If we don’t control too much the art of roasting a whole chicken, We do not want to complicate ourselves by turning it around or we are short of time, a good way to grill a chicken well at home is with the famous butterfly cut.
“It is called like that, or also frog, because we split the chicken from the back and open it on the source“Javier explains.” The chicken will cook earlier, more evenly and it will be easier to remove it from the oven, “he says.
Furthermore, it is a big plus to spread with the marinade well the entire surface, including its interior, which sometimes resists us.
As in almost everything in life, oversizing according to what circumstances has bad results. In the case of chicken it is convenient not to resort to the popular saying of “big horse, walk or not walk”, especially because it will complicate the task in the oven or the times.
“I prefer chickens between 1.3 and 1.4 kilos,” says Javier. “They get better, they need less time and are juicier“, he confesses. A reality adaptable to the chicken we have at home or as many diners as we are, but with a measure of a kilo and a half for four plus garnish, we will have plenty.
The Grid Trick
“It’s about grilling, not cooking the chicken,” says Javier. “Better to put it on a clean rack in the middle of the oven and put down a tray that collects the juices, “he claims.
The technique is worth for both the whole chicken and the butterfly chicken and it ensures the heat in the lower part, in addition to not cooking it, which is a risk we expose ourselves to when we roast it directly on the tray. “With the grid we allow the heat to circulate better in the lower part, cooking it equally”, he assures.
Above all, it is practical to accompany our winged friend with potatoes, onions or vegetables because the heat in a conventional oven is also concentrated in the upper part, thus keeping our vegetables more tender in the tray that we deposit in the bottom to recover juices.
Although with the butterfly technique we save time, if we bet on the whole chicken, it is always more practical roast the piece breast side down.
In all the birds, the breast is the driest part of any piece of poultry, be it chicken (including free-range or free-range chicken), turkey, hen, partridge, pheasant, quail or pigeon. Whatever the bug, it is a leaner part and in roasts it tends to remain dry if we do not pamper it.
Therefore, we are going to take advantage of gravity and the melting of fat to make it shiny. If we roast it with the breast down, melted fat will flow to this part and we will not expose it so much to the heat of the oven.
Then it will only suffice with turn around our winged friend and that it is done on the side of the breast, which is where we want it to be crispy but without going overboard.
Leave the door still
See how the chicken browned and crackled, forming those tasty bubbles on the skin, was an event that fascinated me as a child and still fascinates me. As a vice she had to open the oven to see it with more delight, something that mother and grandmothers did not like much.
When I was older I learned that it was not only to prevent myself from burning, but also to keep the heat from escaping and the necessary temperature for it to be done well. With opening twice, the first to flip and the second to control the temperature, It’s enough.
The final trick: carve correctly
The event of bringing a well-done, glossy chicken to the table is worth the effort of cooking. When we already have him among us, it is convenient give it a few minutes for the juices to settle inside, so we should not carve it just out of the oven because it will dry out a bit.
Once that time has passed, we recommend having a good knife and separate the quarters at the junction of bone that they make with the body. Then, the wings and as a finishing touch, separate the breasts making a straight cut guiding us by the sternum, thus leaving both halves on each side.
Then, as a deference and as a gesture, we believe that the most equanimous thing is distribute to each diner various parties if we want to avoid a pitched battle for the thighs and the breasts. A war without bloodshed but always with winners and losers that you have surely seen at home.
Images | iStock
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