In this recipe, you can roast a good-sized chicken in a little over an hour. To achieve this, you have to start with a spatchcocked, or butterflied, bird, which is a bird that has had its backbone removed and then pressed flat. You can get a butcher to do this for you, or you can do it yourself. When I first did this I was surprised at how straightforward a procedure it was, and it makes you feel Blue Peter competent.
Having a shorter roasting time then traditional roast chicken means you have a much juicier end result. Cooking it on a rack over some liquid makes for instant gravy, all you really need is something green and some bread to mop up the juices for a low-stress roast.
1 medium roasting chicken- 1.5-2kg, spatchcocked
1 bay leaf
2 stalks rosemary
2 cloves garlic
250ml chicken stock
1 glass white wine
If you haven't got a butcher to spatchcock your chicken, do it yourself. Turn it breast-side down, and which a sharp knife or pair of scissors, cut down one side of the backbone, then the other side, then remove it. You have to cut through the rib bones of the chicken, but this is easier than it sounds. Turn it over and flatten the chicken out.
Finely chop the bay leaf, the leaves from the rosemary and the garlic together. Put in a bowl, and mix with enough olive oil to make a spreadable ointment for the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Rub this savoury mix all over the chicken, underside included. Leave for as long as you can- 24 hours would be great, but if you have to proceed straight away it's not a disaster. Just remember, if you leave it to macerate in the fridge, then take it out in time to come to room temperature.
When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200C. In a roasting dish, pour in the chicken stock and wine. Put a rack in the roasting tin, and sit the chicken breast side down on the rack. Roast for half an hour, and then turn the chicken the right way up and roast for another half hour. By this time the chicken should be cooked- if you are not sure, use a knife to make a cut in the thigh- the juices should run clear.
Let it sit for a few minutes while you skim some of the fat from the juices underneath. Serve the chicken with the roasting tin juices and your choice of accompaniments.