You know Christmas is approaching when it’s November and Orchard road is glittering with all kinds of fairy lights and decorations. And then suddenly it’s time to put up the Christmas tree, get all your gifts sorted and plan Christmas dinner. My household always does a pot luck as there are almost forty of us to feed. Dad has ten siblings, and with the children included it’s one massive celebration. Mum usually cooks the turkey which is always huge and we eat it for several days after.
Maybe you don’t have such a large family like me, but Christmas is always a time where you feel extra blessed and it’s also a time to show your kitchen skills to your special someone’s who are celebrating with you.
If you don’t want to deal with a Turkey, a very large bird to firstly defrost, (the approximates for defrosting a large turkey is about 3 hours at room temperature, yikes!). And then they will take yet another 3 to 4 hours to cook, and if your family is one with less than six to feed you may want to consider roasting a tinier bird like a chicken instead of Turkey.
One of the upsides of cooking chicken is most people are chicken fans, especially young children. Turkey isn’t so hot on their lists of game. If you ask a random child on the street, “what’s your favourite meat”, they will probably say chicken.
Let’s get straight to my Stylo Butterfly Roast Chicken above, that will impress your children or guests and be moist, tender and most importantly cooked within one hour (60 mins) – you could catch up on a mini-series while it cooks. You wouldn’t have to turn it either to make sure the juices are evenly distributed or even tent the breast portion so it doesn’t burn.
Which is quite a feat cos most roast chicken recipes will require you to take some of those measures to keep the bird moist and the total cooking time will be at least 1.5 hours (90mins) to fully cook a whole chicken.
I hope you are sold on the idea – the key to this quick chicken stylo butterfly roast is cutting the chicken right down the back and I will show you what that looks like in a minute. Get your butcher at the local market to do it, if not use a pair of sharp kitchen shears.
Use your kitchen shears to cut through the back of the chicken and remove any poky bits where the breast bone is so you get an even cook. Wash bloody bits and pat dry. You should get a bird that looks like this. If not your vegetables cooking right under your chicken may get discoloured.
Herb selection all fresh. Left:oregano Centre:tarragon Right:majoram Right corner:rosemary
Cut all your herbs and mix with spectrum organic non-hydrogenated shortening.
Assemble, carrots, celery, leeks and unpeeled garlic, salt and pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Cut lemon layer should be right on top to moisturise and scent chicken.
Salt and pepper chicken liberally and spread herb shortening mix all over front and back of chicken. Place it right on top of vegetables, cut one lemon into half, squeeze a little to tenderise and let it bake whole in the corners of the tray. Drizzle olive oil over chicken just before it goes in to bake!
Into the oven at 200C for 55 mins and you get stylo butterfly caramalised chicken that is butter and dairy free. Ooh it’s time to eat this as a pre Christmas treat!
Make this and tag the dish at #taystesg
Stylo butterfly Roast Chicken
Prep - 20 mins
Cook time - 55 mins
Total time 1hr and 15 mins
Utensils - pair of sharp kitchen shears, roasting pan
1 chicken – 1.5 to 1.8 kg
Herb shortening mix
4 garlic cloves minced
Fresh herbs – oregano, majoram, tarragon and rosemary, washed and chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons of spectrum organic all vegetable shortening (substitute with unsalted butter if not going dairy-free)
Extra Chicken seasoning
Rub salt and pepper all over front and back
1 drizzle of extra virgin olive oil before chicken goes into the oven
Cut up vegetables into bite size – 2 stalks celery, 1 leek, 2 carrots, 1 lemon cut lengthwise and then into slices
1 head of unpeeled garlic
1 whole lemon, cut into half and squeezed gently to tenderise
Seasoning for vegetables
Salt, pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- Butterfly your chicken from the back using a pair of sharp kitchen shears or get your butcher to do this for added ease.
- Remove any bits that will stick out after butterflying, including some of the breast bone and soft cartilage. This is for an even cook.
- Prepare your chosen selection of herbs and chop up everything.
- Mix in the spectrum organic shortening or unsalted butter.
- Cut all your vegetables into bite sizes including your lemon and layer according to the picture. Cut lemon should be the top layer to moisturise and scent chicken.
- In your chosen baking pan, assemble carrots, celery, leeks and unpeeled garlic, salt, pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Cut lemon layer should be right on top to moisturise and scent chicken.
- Salt and pepper chicken liberally, and spread herb shortening mix all over the front and back, you may also add some under the skin to make it extra tasty.
- Place the chicken right on top of your vegetables. Cut another lemon into half, squeeze it a little to tenderize and let it bake whole in the corners of the tray. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over chicken just before it goes into to bake!
- Bake at 200C for 55mins till juices run clear when skewered. If your oven gets very hot use 190C instead.
- Squeeze juices of baked whole lemon before serving!
For an extra caramalised bird, make use of this clever shortcut. Heat a large cast iron pat till very hot and fry the chicken skin side down for a couple of minutes till brown before transferring into the hot oven.
You can use any combination fo fresh or dried herbs that you like.
The leftover juices from the pan can be made into bird gravy with a little salt and potato starch.
Keep the carcass and left over vegetables to make chicken soup the next day!