Is it acceptable to roast on Sunday and again on Monday? Why not? If you need a reason to turn up the heat, let this Rosemary and Paprika Roast Chicken be it. What could be simpler that letting the oven do all the work? Marinated in fragrant rosemary, garlic, lemon and cumin with just a touch of chilli to give it some heat. That Nando’s bird is going to have to step it up a gear to keep ahead. Oven roasted with sticky red onions and a splash of wine, because chicken loves a sluice of white to bring the party into the pan. And, because I simply can’t resist, this succulent bird gets a liberal basting of thyme and parsley butter just before carving. What more can I say? Let’s roast!!
Marinating the chicken is key to allow the flavours to permeate deep within the meat, so don’t negate this step. A marinade is perhaps one of the simplest ways of imparting concentrated flavour and is really quick and easy. Marinating overnight is best, but several hours will do if time is short. To speed up the cooking time, spatchcock the chicken. If this step fills you with dread, by-pass it and roast the chicken as you normally would but increase the cooking time to 1 hour and 15 minutes. To check if the chicken is cooked through, pierce with a skewer. The juices should run clear.
The marinade is kind of Italian with rosemary, lemon and garlic. Very much like the proverbial ‘chicken under a brick’ story, but with a cheeky slant. Then there’s the smoked paprika, chilli and cumin which gives it great depth of flavour and a deep amber stain. To balance the heat, I’ve added a drizzle of honey for sweetness. When cooking meat, I’m a firm believer in deglazing. Lifting all the marmite-like bits off the base of the roasting tin makes for the best pan jus.
The herb butter is not essential but it’s the little things that make the difference. Fresh thyme and flat leaf parsley butter elevate this roast chicken to awesomeness. Thrown into the tray to roast alongside the chicken are some red onions wedges which render down to a soft caramelised jam. Infused with rosemary and thyme, it’s pure joy. I say, roast chicken forever…..
Serve with roast sweet potatoes or a Greek salad and perhaps a chilled glass of white. For the perfect wine pairings, whether it’s chicken, fish, red meat or even dessert, Michael Olivier has got you covered. Visit Michael Olivier’s site for recommendations and expert advice.
Rosemary and paprika roast chicken
For the marinade
1 garlic clove, bruised (crushed)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 stems rosemary, de-stalked and finely chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 45ml)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 free range chicken, spatchcocked
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 red onions, cut into wedges
1/3 cup dry white wine
generous handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
several stems fresh thyme, de-stalked
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch of sea salt flakes
To make the marinade, place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Place the chicken on a wooden board with the breast-side facing down and the legs towards you. With a kitchen scissor or very sharp, smooth bladed knife cut down on either side of the backbone. Remove the centre bone and turn the chicken over. Press down on the centre to flatten.
Place the chicken in a non-metallic dish. Pour the marinade over and rub into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate overnight. I usually turn the chicken over half way through the marinating period so that the flavour penetrates evenly.
Preheat the oven to 200º C. To prevent sticking, I spray the baking tray with non-stick cooking spray. You can also line it with parchment paper or foil if you’re not big on washing up! Season the chicken with sea salt on both sides and place on the tray, skin side up.
Drizzle the onions with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. If you’re not avoiding sugar, add 1 teaspoon brown sugar which’ll give help to caramelise the onions. Scatter the onions around the chicken. Add 3 tablespoons of water to the tray to prevent the marinade from burning.
Roast for 30 minutes. Spoon the pan juices over the chicken. Pour the wine into the pan around the sides, but not over the chicken. Return to the oven and continue to roast for another 20 minutes. To get a dark and crispy skin, grill for several minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes before carving.
For the herb butter, place all the ingredients in small bowl and stir to combine. Brush liberally over the chicken. Any extra herb butter can be served on the side.