This is the first in a monthly series of exciting Friday Night dinner recipes that I thought might be fun for you to try out on your beloved, as well as other loved ones in your life. I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for inspiration for what to cook for Mr STG, as well as recipe ideas for when it’s more than just the two of us for dinner.
Quite often our parents, in-laws and siblings join us for Friday nights, and it’s up to my hubby (who does most of the cooking in our house) to rustle up a beautiful dinner. I’d love to get back into cooking and contribute more in the kitchen, so I asked Mark Frankel, a dear friend and talented masterchef, to share some modern takes on the traditional Shabbat meal / Friday night dinner.
I’ll be posting a brand new recipe of his on the first Friday of every month and these dishes will be perfect for busy souls who want tasty family dishes that don’t take all day to prepare.
I’d love you to try out the recipes and share your results on Instagram using the hashtag #SmashingFridayNight. It would be so great to see your creations and of course I’ll be sharing mine too!
So let’s hand over to Mark, our new resident chef, who is kicking off the series with his take on the perfect roast chicken. I mean… how could he we start the series with anything else?! This dish is perfect for when the family come over on Friday night, or for the weekend of your wedding.
I can’t wait to see how you get on… Happy Friday!
Yummy Roast Chicken
“I want to become a chef.”
Silence. COMPLETE silence.
My mother may have rolled her eyes; I can’t quite remember, but apparently she did not share my culinary enthusiasm at the tender age of 15. In fact, she made it her mission to keep me as far away from the family kitchen as possible. Maybe my feeble attempt at egg mayonnaise during a cookery class aged 11 had not impressed her.
So naturally, respecting the wishes of my mother (and yes, it pains me to admit it, but mothers truly are always right), I progressed into a completely different line of work.
Then however Keith Floyd happened and my creativity was itching to work its way into my very own kitchen when I was 26 years old. Best of both worlds though, a blooming career thanks to my mother’s guidance and now a newly flourishing and tasty part time hobby. And that’s my getting hooked in a (cooking) nut shell. Sizzling, right? Well, it certainly proves that my egg mayonnaise couldn’t have been that bad, Mum!
I thoroughly enjoyed learning and cooking a whole variety of different cuisines ranging from oriental delights to homely Italian pasta creations for friends and family (I’m happy to report there were never any fatalities). One day however, whilst I was making my much loved version of spaghetti bolognese (you may convince me to share this with you one day), it suddenly dawned on me that I had actually never attempted a recipe for the much loved, traditional Friday night roast chicken.
This realisation instantly challenged me to put my creative twist on this classic dish. As a natural born perfectionist (and after a head scratching moment or two), I decided to venture to the nearest bookshop for a variety of inspirations and approaches of improving on something, which was already very delicious.
You’d think that something so classic can stem from very similar recipes, but you’ll be surprised at the responses I got when asking my friends for their approach on preparing the nation’s favourite feathery friend. It ranged from rubbing only oil onto the chicken to basting it in beer or literally swimming it in Coca Cola. This is where the debate starts… What really does make the perfect roast chicken? Sit back for a minute and consider what makes a roast chicken a DELICIOUSLY roast chicken for you. If you have oodles of time, please also answer me this: which came first… The chicken or the roasting tin??
I wasn’t exactly born with the cooking spoon in my hand, so you no doubt you will be able to relate to me when I say I experimented with lots of different recipes over the years. You should definitely do the same. Don’t ever be afraid to experiment with new ideas however random they may appear, and try anything that looks different.
- Roasting chicken
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh rosemary
- Maldon sea salt
- Black pepper
- Dijon mustard
- Olive oil
- 2 bulbs of garlic (approx. 16 garlic cloves)
- One unwaxed lemon
- Red wine – optional
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 90 – 105 minutes depending on the size of chicken
Do not wash your chicken as it can spread bacteria. Read this link for more information:
Take time to remove all the unsightly parts, like where the feathers were. I use a pair of tweezers for this.
Then wash your herbs, and leave to dry on a kitchen towel. Once dry remove the herbs from the stalks. This takes time so put on some good music or a Ted talk.
Once you have all the rosemary and thyme, removed from the stalks, chop finely with a sharp knife and add olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. We’re going to rub this mix into the chicken so be generous with all the ingredients, especially the oil. I like to use extra virgin olive oil but you can use normal olive oil too.
Here comes the good part. Put a lemon inside the chicken. The juice releases from the lemon whilst the chicken is cooking and makes it moist. For an even better result boil the lemon for 5 minutes before you place into the chicken.
Then take the discarded stalks from the thyme and lots of garlic cloves. Stuff them all inside the chicken with some salt and then tie up the legs with some string.
The next part is a little tricky but it is worth it. Lift up the skin of the breast with the back of a spoon and stuff with Dijon mustard. So you have mustard under the skin. Rub it in so it covers all of the breast. This gives the normally bland and dry white meat a lovely taste.
Finally add lots of garlic gloves to the dish. Roast garlic is delicious and adds another great flavour to the dish.
Add some more pepper on top of the chicken before placing into a pre-heated oven of 180 ºc for 45 mins. Then put on some oven gloves and turn over the chicken, being careful as the oil is very hot. At this point you can add red wine to the dish. This gives a lovely gravy once cooked, but is optional. Try it both ways and see what you prefer.
Leave the chicken for another 45 – 60 mins (depending on the size of the chicken) and then remove from the oven. With some kitchen gloves take out the garlic cloves and squeeze out the cooked garlic. Add this to the dish once you’ve sliced up the chicken. You should have a small amount of natural gravy at the bottom of the dish which you can pour over the chicken before you serve.
I like to serve the breast with the mustard separate to the rest of the chicken. Then it’s like two different flavours on one plate.
I often use a disposable foil dish as in the photos as it saves a lot of time washing up, but of course you can use a proper roasting tray, which will retain the heat better.
Serve with roast potatoes, rice, greens, roasted sprouts, red cabbage, or salad. The options are endless.
It’s making you hungry, right? Before you eagerly rush into your kitchen to try it out for yourself, remember one thing. Relax – don’t be afraid to be creative. After all, Gordon Ramsay wasn’t cooked up in a day. So don’t be apprehensive of becoming the next big chef!
Above everything, enjoy yourself. Until next time… cooking utensils at the ready!
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Recipe and images by Mark Frankel. Words by Maya Hartge. Header image: Colin Miller via Vogue
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