Royal family: Chef who cooked for the Queen says we’ve cooked rotisserie chicken wrong all our lives
Enjoying a good old-fashioned Sunday roast dinner has been a favorite British pastime and has been for hundreds of years. The tradition is believed to date back to the year 1485, when King Henry VII ruled England, and has been around ever since.
But for hundreds of years, millions and millions of people have been food their chicken roasted the wrong way, if the queen’s former chef is to be believed. Talk to The Expressformer royal chef Jeff Baker explained how it should be done.
The chef said: “Be sure to brine the chicken – this will help lock in the juices, enhancing the natural flavor of the chicken, and make sure you avoid a dry cut, keeping the meat juicy and tender”.
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He added: “You should let the chicken sit completely submerged in the chilled brine for six to 12 hours, if possible. Before roasting the chicken, you should massage it in carefully using a moderate amount of butter, making sure the whole chicken is covered to allow for maximum moisture.
According to Jeff, placing the chicken on a trivet of vegetables when preparing the roast “will allow the flavors to combine and give those vegetables extra richness and meaty flavor.”
Of the variety of vegetables one could choose to go with roast chicken, Jeff said using carrots, onions and celery “work well together.” The chef further advised, “Adding a few sprigs of thyme also blends perfectly during the roasting process.
“Using the excess drippings from the meat to make your sauce is a key part of any roast dinner. All of those flavors retained during roasting will result in the tastiest sauce, with a rich meaty flavor.
To make a decent rotisserie chicken, Jeff recommended using free-range chicken, adding that you would also need two liters of water, 200g fine sea salt, 100g golden powdered sugar, eight black peppercorns , a bay leaf, a piece of rosemary, zest of half a lemon and melted butter to rub on the chicken.
His method for the brine is as follows: Bring a liter of water to a boil and add the salt and sugar before the herbs, spices and zests. Then remove from the heat and add the last liter of cold water and refrigerate. Add the chicken and immerse it in the chilled solution for six to 12 hours before removing it from the brine and rinsing it briefly in cold water, then air drying it before roasting it.
To cook the roast, Jeff suggested preheating the oven to fan-assisted 180 degrees Celsius or fanless 200 degrees Celsius (gas six). Then massage the chicken with a little melted butter before roasting it for an hour until crispy. To carve the chicken, divide the breast and thigh meat evenly and serve with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables and gravy.