The eight mistakes I no longer make when making roast chicken (and three chef tricks to make it perfect)
Roast chicken is part of the collective imagination of our childhood, smelling of Sunday and filling the entire house with the smell of lightly toasted skin. An authentic and very affordable gastronomic feast that we have spoken to you on several occasions with recipes such as this baked chicken by Carmen Tia Alia or this other, with memories of Pakus to his 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 teacher has his booklet and that, even with few ingredients, embroider a roast chicken it's not that easy.
Reason why today we are planted in the kitchen with Javier Brichetto, Argentine chef of the Madrid restaurant Piantao, which borders the world of grilled roasts and that you will find in delivery in mid-May, such as their barbecue, their vegetables and of course, their grilled chicken.
Mistakes I don't make anymore
The theory with a roast chicken is simple. An animal, an oven and a clock. Practice, as in almost everything, is not so easy, or it was not in my case and there was more than one stumbling block in this world.
So, to try to help you out if you still don't tame the world of roast chicken, we have set to work so that your next roasted chicken is perfect.
Hurry is a bad adviser and, as humble as it may be, chicken meat also deserves the same respect as if we had a suckling lamb or sirloin on our hands. If we take the most noble meats out of the fridge for a while, chicken, cheap as it is, too.
"A quarter of an hour may be enough to temper the chicken," says Javier, although if we have a little more margin, nothing will hurt our winged friend.
This simple thermal question is very easy to understand: the colder it is, the longer it will take to cook. In addition, the sudden temperature shock will cause chicken meat to contract, making it 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
Being stingy with salt and pepper in roasts is a mistake that has a difficult solution. Even more so if we do not strive to season well inside and out.
We have to admit that chicken meat is naturally bland - unless we leave a few extra euros in raw material - and that it needs salt and pepper to achieve a certain grace.
Javier, carrying a step to the plate above, makes for his grilled chicken a marinade that you can emulate at home. "We use chipotle paste, which also gives a smoky touch, oil, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, a pinch of cumin, fresh thyme and some citrus like lime and orange," he says, although there is one more ingredient that he does not confess - chef's secret - and others, which he doesn't use, but which are very practical. "Coca-cola can be used 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 Latino grocery store," he adds. "Then we crush the entire mixture in the turmix and rub the chicken, including between the skin and the meat," he says.
"Two or three hours is enough, although you can let it marinate for a whole day, but the flavor can be very intense," he advises.
Other options include sliding butter between the skin of the chicken, resorting to aromatic herbs such as rosemary or thyme in that scrub, rubbing with olive oil or with distillates. Not to mention the eternal filling with lemon, alcohol, herbs or onion, which give a great aroma to the interior of the chicken.
The butterfly cut
If we do not control the art of roasting a whole chicken too much, we do not want to complicate it by turning it or we are just in time, a good way to roast a chicken well at home is with the famous butterfly cut.
"It is called that, or also a frog, because we split the chicken from the back and open it over the source," explains Javier. "The chicken will be cooked earlier, more evenly and it will be easier to remove it from the oven," he says.
In addition, it is a great advantage to spread the whole surface well with the marinade, including its interior, which sometimes resists us.
As in almost everything in life, oversizing in 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 since it will complicate the task in the oven or the times.
"I prefer chickens between 1.3 and 1.4 kilos," says Javier. "They are made better, they need less time and they are juicier," he confesses. A reality adaptable to the chicken that we have at home or to how many diners we are but with a measure of a kilo and a half for four plus the garnish, we will have plenty.
The grid trick
"It's about roasting, not cooking the chicken," says Javier. "It is 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 valid for both whole chicken and butterfly chicken and ensures heat at the bottom, in addition to not cooking it, which is a risk that we are exposed to when we roast it directly on the tray. "With the grid we allow the heat to circulate better at the bottom, cooking it equally," he says.
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 at the top, thus keeping our vegetables more tender in the tray that we deposit in the bottom to recover juices.