Saturday, June 1, 2013

Discovering the Oven

Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary Roast Chicken

Roast chicken with vegetables and gravy. No potatoes though,
I've never been any good at potatoes.

The oven doesn't feature in the the usual Bangladeshi kitchen. We have our tandoori ovens of course, but those are completely different beasts. They're usually only found in restaurants or road side food huts. The average urban Bangladeshi household uses a simple gas stove, and if you travel to more rural areas you may even encounter cooking pits.

A bare earth cooking pit at my paternal grandma's
in Salop, Bangladesh

The oven, therefore, was quite new to us when we first moved to Hong Kong; and I don't recall mom actually using it while we were there. It wasn't until we later moved to Paris that the oven really took off in our kitchen and even then our use of it was limited to pizza and cake. This is why when I first moved into my flat in Birmingham the oven in the kitchen was so full of potential - it represented a whole new subset of foods that I could learn to cook. 

The recipe I'm sharing today is special to me as it was the first ever oven-based dish I tried myself. I've always been fascinated by the whole roast chicken phenomenon because we don't have this in Bangladesh. I grew up seeing the dish on TV or hearing about it from friends' Christmas celebrations, but that was about it. This is essentially a recipe I've copied directly from here. I've changed the preparation method a bit, used dried rosemary and added chilli flakes. No credit to claim of course, just wanted to share.


  • 1.00 whole chicken
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Dried rosemary
  • Butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chilli flakes
  • Salt
  • Courgettes
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms

  • This isn't the kind of recipe where you need to worry about amounts, so just relax and get cooking. And leave the butter out to soften
  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Chop some lemons into quarters, making sure there's enough to stuff the chicken and then some

Chopping lemons and eating crackers to stave off my hunger!

  • I tend to go for one medium garlic bulb per lemon, which can be chopped in one of two ways. Either separate, peel and chop the cloves finely finely, or just chop then up roughly skin and all since no one's going to be eating the stuffing
  • Mix the quartered lemons, garlic and some rosemary together and stuff the chicken. Leave some of this mix sans lemons to sprinkle onto your vegetables

Chicken, stuffed

  • Mix the softened butter, salt and pepper in proportions desired and smother over the chicken. Use much or as little of this as you want, depending on how healthy you want to be 

Butter with salt and pepper

  • Finally sprinkle on some rosemary and chilli flakes onto the surface of the chicken and place into the oven
  • Cook on 200C for an hour and half
  • While the chicken is roasting, roughly chop up the vegetables and add some lemon,  the leftover garlic-rosemary mix, butter, salt and pepper

Yeah I know all this butter isn't good for me!

  • Turn the oven temperature down to 180C, and add the vegetables to the roasting tray

Chicken going back in with the vegetables

  • Cook for another 30 minutes or till the chicken is done.
  • Serve with (instant!) gravy

Done and just taken out of the oven

Additional Info
I tend to forget about potatoes when I'm roasting chicken...but parboil and add them 15 minutes earlier than the vegetables at a guess. Word of warning however - I've never been any good at roast potatoes and you may be better off Googling for proper instructions elsewhere. 

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