Traditional Spanish chicken roast: a meeting point for Spaniards and British
Sometimes I work on trying to find things that British and Spanish we have in common when it comes to food. I think it is not a hard job, but it is just the way we prepare it-we are two worlds apart, obviously. Once I gather enough data I would like to write something which might surprise everybody who reads this blog. In the meantime, let me tell you about something we both enjoy: a good roast. In this case, a good chicken roast.
As a Spaniard expat living in the UK, I must confess I enjoy a hearty Sunday Roast next to a pint of Guinness. Pork belly is my favourite one because of its tenderness and juiciness, but I would eat anyone as long as the produce is high quality. We also roast meat regularly on weekends, but we do it on Saturdays and we tend to serve chicken-we reserve Sunday for paella or fideua, no arguments. It’s probably linked to the fact that families are busy on Saturday morning with different things such kids playing sports games, morning shopping, house cleaning… So they need to cook something that doesn’t requires a lot of attention. The oven does all the work, then you just need to decide how you flavour it.
And how do we roast the chicken? Like in many other dishes, every household has its own recipe. Common ingredients are aromatic herbs such thyme rosemary or oregano; plenty of olive oil (no surprises); and garlic, because it gives a distinct aroma. From here you can also use with lemon, orange or white wine-and I learnt that there is people who even uses curry powder! For this recipe I stuck to the classics and I did the same with the side next to it. I roasted the potatoes with white onion, medium cut and with sweet white wine in a separate tray. Seek no more because they are always a guarantee of deliciousness!
Let me finish this post telling you a curious fact about this dish: it’s the number-one take away in many regions of the country. The same way Britain is full of Fish and Chips shops from north to south, there are businesses in Spain exclusively dedicated to the art of roasting chicken. It is so popular that on Saturdays you need to pre-order your portions early in the morning if you want it by lunch time. Rostiserias, as we call them in the Catalan region, are temples of truly delicious homemade food which, sometimes, not only involves chicken.
Whole chicken (1,5-2 kg)
Garlic cloves (4)
Rosemary (1 teaspoon)
Thyme (1 teaspoon)
DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING
The first step is to make the drizzle. Peel two garlic cloves and put them in a bowl. Add the salt, both herbs, the juice of half lemon and a generous amount of olive oil. Grind manually until the garlic cloves are well crushed and you achieve a liquid texture with every ingredient integrated.
2. Place your chicken in a roast tray. Spread the drizzle all over and try to reach every single corner-you can use a brush or your hands as long as they are clean. If you still have drizzle in your bowl, pour it inside the chicken through the hole. Also, introduce the remaining two garlic cloves (peeled) and the half lemon (chopped in quarters).
3. Preheat your oven at 200 Celsius for 10 minutes and start roasting the chicken. All you have to do now is watch it whilst the heat does its job. It will take 1,5 to 2 hours to be cooked as it gets browner and browner. I suggest you to turn it occasionally (every 30 minutes) so both sides are evenly roasted. Also, pour some of the sauce that falls on the bottom of the tray. In doing so, you ensure the chicken will be tender and juicy.
4. Serve a portion with a side dish of your convenience and a generous amount of sauce.