RECIPE – Heston Blumenthal’s Perfect Roast Chicken

Okay, so I’ve attempted another of Heston’s recipes in his ‘In Search of Perfection’ series.

This time I’ve gone for the ubiquitous roast chook.

It’d definitely simpler than the other Heston recipes I’ve tried before (see list here) but still takes time as there are things that need to be done the night before.

Ingredients:

  • 1x Free range Chicken (Heston says get the best you can afford as you can tell by the flavour)
  • Salt (for brine)
  • 500g broccoli
  • 500g carrots
  • 100g butter
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • Peanut oil for frying

Comment: Heston’s perfect recipe also includes perfect roast potatoes – I didn’t do it for this chook as that would require 2 ovens considering the potatoes needed >1 hour on much higher heat to cook. If you really want some potatoes, I would recommend bratkartoffeln (German fried potatoes) as you can finish them off in the pan instead of the oven. Another side would be corn on the cob – yum.

Method:

  1. Chop the wing tips off your chicken, chop the tip into bits (~2cm) and put them in a storage container in the fridge
  2. Brine the chicken in a salt/water solution – Heston said 8% for 6 hoursComment: I prefer 5% salt solution for brining – easier to calculate and I found with 8% salt, the chook was on the precipice of almost too salty
  3. Rinse the salt off the chicken for 1 hour – changing the water every 15 mins
  4. Bring a large pot of water to the boil & CAREFULLY put the chicken in for 30 seconds covered with a lid
  5. When removing the chicken, make sure you’ve tipped out the water in the cavity and put the chicken in a bowl of ice water to coolComment: No reason to this photo, just wanted to show off my battleship ice cubes 🙂
  6. When cool, repeat chicken blanching & icing – make sure water is boiled before you put it in
  7. When chicken is cooled the 2nd time, put the chicken onto a rack, cover it with a breathable fabric and stick in the fridge overnight
  8. Pre-heat oven to 75°C with a separate oven thermometer (Don’t trust the thermometer on your oven), remove the cloth from the chicken and stick it straight in for 4.5 hours – chook is done when you probe it and it is 60°C for 15 mins in breast & leg (even if it is pale and anemic looking)Comment: Heston says to set your oven to 60°C BUT that’s the temperature you want your chicken to get to – the laws of physics do not allow 100% temperature transfer – you need to set your oven higher than 60°C if you want your food to get to that temperature, hence why I say 75°C instead.
  9. Blanch your broccoli for 1 min in boiling water then drain & put in ice water – this can be done in advance. When ready to serve, put in pot with 25g butter and season with salt and pepper and reheat on medium heat
  10. Put your carrots in a pot with butter and season with salt and pepper and cook on medium heat
  11. Chicken butter – Put 50g butter & reserved chicken wing tips in a pan on high heat; cook for ~5 mins until the butter is brown and bubbling.
  12. Chicken butter – when butter is brown, strain and suck up the chicken butter in a baster with a pointed metal tip
  13. Put some oil in a pan on high heat – get some tongs and it’s time to fry up your chicken like a rotisserie; you want to brown the outside to make it crisp and tasty. Heston says you need to do this quickly so that it doesn’t damage the chook you’ve spent lovingly cooking over low heat.
  14. Shove the baster into the chicken and inject your chicken butter.
  15. Surround with your veggies and serve

Comment: This chicken is really, really good. So moist and succulent, you don’t have to use ANY herbs and it manages to have so much flavour. When brining it, you can add a tablespoon of herbs if you’d like – I leave it up to you.

Would I make it again? YES, I have made it again. When you’ve got some time on your hands, this really is the perfect roast chook and will be a hit with friends and family.

Blowtorching the chook?

I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is, how can you brown the chicken all over? Not all the surfaces can touch the pan. You can spoon over the hot oil in the pan while rotissering but it’s not enough to get it consistently brown all oer.

So I thought to myself, would a blowtorch work?

In short, not really – I had my blowtorch set on high and it rather singed my bird, tiny specks at a time. Perhaps if I had it on a lower heat and brushed some oil over it first, it would have probably worked better.

For the next chook (for there most definitely would be a next time), to brown, I will fry as before, spoon hot oil in the cavity and on areas the pan can’t reach, then on a low heat, I will blowtorch any other pale areas.

That would then be my perfect roast chook.

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One Response to “RECIPE – Heston Blumenthal’s Perfect Roast Chicken”

  1. […] Monitor Muncher – This skilful Australian blogger has successfully tackled many of Heston’s Perf… […]

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