Sunday roasts – #1 Chicken – the trick is bacon

Bacon isn’t just something to wrap your sausages up with and throw over your bird. When roasting turkey or chicken – bacon is king. Here are some ideas…

1. GRAVY!

So this is a good excuse to explain how I generally do my chicken and gravy, family and friends lover it and bacon helps make a delicious gravy.

YOU’LL NEED 2 large carrots halved 2 sticks of celery, 1 onion quartered, 1 whole chicken, 1/3 lemon 4 springs each of thyme and rosemary, 1 bay leaf, 4 rashers of smoked and  6 rashers of non-smoked streaky bacon, 125 ml white wine, corn flour

ONE Get your chicken out 30 minutes before cooking and pre heat the oven to  TWO In the meantime roughly chop the carrots, celery and onion and place on the base of a roasting tin – make sure they’re in  big chunks as you want them to survive cooking and act as a base to place the chicken THREE Toss the veg with the smoked streaky bacon, olive oil, a few springs of thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf. Finally season well! FOUR rub the bird with butter and season well before layering with streaky bacon

Roast chicken

FIVE Before adding the bird to its throne of veg, pour in water to a 1cm depth to stop it burning and place half a lemon in the chicken’s cavity SIX Get your chicken in the oven and let those aromas fill the kitchen!* SEVEN Continue to pour the juices back over the chicken throughout cooking and half way through cooking remove the bacon (see idea 3 below) EIGHT Once the chicken is resting, turn on he hob and get your masher out NINE With the roasting tin on the hob, add the white wine, bring the boil and get mashing TEN If needed add 100ml extra water and keep mashing and removing all those tasty, sticky, almost burnt bits off the bottom of the pan

ELEVEN When you have a dark, thick delicious sludge, pass through a sieve and leave for 5 mins so the fat separates on top TWELVE Keep warm on the hob, add  water depending on how thick and intense you want your gravy and (if necessary) corn flour  and serve piping hot.

CHICKEN

* Here’s a roast timer, just remember to leave it to rest for 20-30 minutes covered in foil and a towel or two ttp://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/tools/roast-timer

2. Roast veg and crispy bacon

When it’s cold out side and a roast is in the oven, it’s carrots and parsnips that do it for me. At Christmas I made the most of the still soft and juicy bacon that covered Trevor the turkey in his foil tent. After par boiling the veg (10 mins for the parsnips and 5 for the carrots) they were tossed lightly in olive oil, seasoned and thrust into the steaming hot oven. After 20 minutes I drizzled over maple syrup and strung the streaky bacon over the veg and left to finish off in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Looks great and tastes great, one I’ll be doing again before next Christmas!

3. Bacon Crumb

Again I’m making the most of the bacon that is strewn across the tasty bird. This time I leave the chicken in the oven uncovered and remove the bacon around half way through cooking. This allows the chicken skin to go crispy and allows you to do something unique with the bacon. At this point the bacon will be crisp, dry and golden. Break this into pieces and thrown into a food processor or spice blender giving you a bacon crumb. This can be used to dress a plate in a fancy way or you can put on the table and simply use as the most delicious alternative to salt you’ll find. Other uses could be to mix with herbs such as thyme or rosemary, they could even be used to mix in with your stuffing.

Bacon crumb

More roast ideas to come (I think pork next) but remember to make the most of leftovers. I made a chicken sandwich with leftover pigs in blankets and the bacon crumb – delicious!

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