I'm not one for prinking with a roast. Chicken roasted with some salt and pepper on the skin is probably as good as it gets but man cannot live by plain poultry alone! In search of some variety and because my two year old likes garlic, I gave this a go. It gave a subtle garlicky taste which wasn't overpowering (despite the number of cloves) and a lovely gravy.
Garlic and Herb Chicken - easily serves two adults and a toddler plus leftovers for 1-2 more meals
One chicken (mine weighed 1.9kg, 4lb)
Small handful of parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
8-10 garlic cloves, whole
Half an onion (or a whole small one)
30g, 1oz Softened butter
Preheat the oven to 190oC, 375F, Gas Mark 5.
Mix the butter, crushed garlic, grated zest from the lemon and chopped parsley together. Loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken by pushing your hand under it. Then push the flavoured butter under the skin. This will flavour and baste the bird as it cooks. Add seasoning to the skin if liked (avoid adding salt for food for babies or at least avoid giving them the skin if you have seasoned it.)
Set up a tray (e.g. a grill tray) over a deep roasting pan. Cut the onion into wedges and put into the base of the tray with the whole cloves of garlic and the rest of the lemon in wedges. Put the grill tray on top and the bird on top of that.
Pour about an inch of boiling water into the tray under the chicken and carefully (don't splash yourself) transfer to the oven.
The instructions with my bird said to cook for 40 mins per kg plus 20 minutes. I always find this is too much and normally cook for 40 mins per kg plus 10 minutes (absolute maximum) but you're best off testing your own oven and if you have one, using a temperature probe. The oven I used to have would take far longer to cook, they do vary a lot. If you're unsure how to test it's done, take a look at this post here. If the tray is almost dry during cooking add a bit more water.
Allow to rest for 10 - 15 minutes (anything up to half an hour is fine but put foil over it if it's going to be longer than 15 minutes) and serve with your choice of vegetables. If you want to make gravy, while it's resting, drain any juices from the tray into a jug through a sieve discarding the lemon and onion but pressing the now soft and sweet garlic through if you like. Skim off most of the fat using a spoon and mix with chicken stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil (my mum would always use a stock cube and some water from cooking vegetables, it's not cheffy but it is good). Bubble away until it's the flavour you like then thicken using a dsp cornflour mixed with cold water then poured in slowly as you whisk the bubbling gravy.
No reason at all not to give this to toddlers, older babies and imagine this as an awesome baby led weaning meal with cooked carrots and broccoli? Sliced meats are great as finger foods as they are often really easy to chew. Not every finger food has to be in stick form!
If you do like making this, why not try some chestnut stuffing on the side?
If you've liked this recipe, I would be honoured if you'd consider nominating me in the Food category of the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging (BIBs) awards. The URL of my website is http://mamacook.blogspot.co.uk/ or http://mamacook.blogspot.com/ and my twitter handle is @Mamacook_blog. Thank you kind readers!