One of the most common new-year’s resolutions is to try to cook more food at home, instead of eating out or buying pre-packed (and sometimes unhealthy) meals. Making the decision to change is the hardest part, but once you have the will – you also need the way.
As you probably know by now, I’m a fan of simple recipes which look good, taste good and don’t need hours of preparation time. My roast chicken in Black Forest ham ticks all of those boxes, and has the added bonus of being able to feed a whole family of people cheaply. Many people don’t realise that by cooking an entire chicken (instead of buying breasts or strips) you can eat comfortable for two or three days for the same price as a microwaveable lasagne. But I digress….
So this take on a traditional roast chicken uses ‘Black Forest’ ham (it’s from Germany, and is extremely popular in Europe). It adds a lovely salty taste to the skin of the chicken, and of course turns crispy when cooking, adding another texture and aroma to your final plate. You can of course substitute the ham for bacon, or if you’re feeling very adventurous then Parma ham works great too.
Whenever I roast a chicken then the first meal from it will be a roast dinner, with hot, moist white meat covered in thick gravy – but the fun doesn’t end there! I’ll strip all of the little bits of meat from the bones (it pays to take a few minutes to do this), and use the shredded pieces for a curry, sandwiches or a pie the next day.
Moist, juicy chicken covered in crispy ham, with a subtle hint of orange and rosemary
- Chicken - Whole
- Black Forest cured ham - 200g
- Orange - 1 medium sized
- Rosemary - 1 tbsp (fresh)
- Olive oil - 2 tbsp
- Salt -
- Pepper -
- First prepare your chicken. If it's prepacked then rinse it and cut off any bits you don't like the look of, if it has giblets inside then you need to get your hand dirty and clean it out
- Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a roasting tin and wipe it around with some kitchen roll to cover the bottom
- Place the chicken in the middle of the tin and add another tablespoon of olive oil on top of it, and rub that in to the skin. This will give it a golden, crispy brown outer shell when it has finished cooking
- Season your chicken with plenty of salt and pepper
- Cut the orange in half and then stick it inside the chicken
- Your ham (or bacon) will probably all be stuck together when you buy it, so make sure you peel off single strips and then layer over the chicken. There's no set 'pattern' or way of doing it, but get a good covering over the whole lot
- Sprinkle some of your rosemary on top (you can also put some inside too if you have plenty)
- Put in a pre-heated oven at 180c for 90 minutes. This calculation is done for a chicken which weighs 1.3kg, so for larger or smaller birds you may need to slightly adjust the cooking time
- After the chicken is cooked (if you have a meat thermometer it wants to be above 74c) remove from the oven and sit on your worktop. I like to cover the bird and let it rest for 15-30 minutes in tin foil. (Don't wrap foil tightly around...just try to make a 'tent' above it without any holes to keep the heat in). This 'resting' process helps to keep the moisture in the meat, and everyone will thank you for it!
- After the chicken has finished resting (and you've finished the rest of your vegetables), carve and serve.
Extra tip - if you're making gravy to have with your roast (and you SHOULD be!), use the juice from the cooked orange to add a delicious, meaty zest to your meal.