What is a recipe for cooking chicken that is really tasty?

Chicken Secrets Unveiled: Choosing the Right Bird

Let's get this right off the bat: if you want a truly delicious chicken, quality matters. This isn't just Darius being all snobbish about his food. No, no. This is a truth that any home cook, be it my friend Zephyr or my next door neighbour, would agree on. The source of your chicken plays a significant role in how your dish will taste. Opt for free-range or organic chickens whenever you can. These are birds that have actually had the opportunity to exercise and eat a natural diet, which translates into more flavourful meat. And although they might be a tad more expensive, the difference in taste is palpable. It’s like comparing a juicy ripe mango to a dry, colourless one. You catch my drift?

Brining Magic: The Brine Bullseye

Everyone has that one friend who’s got a fantastic aim. You know, the one who always wins darts games? Well, consider brining the secret weapon that always makes sure you hit the flavour bullseye on your chicken. In a clear layman's term, brining is a process where you soak your chicken in a mixture of salt, sugar, and water. Sometimes we can jazz it up with herbs and spices. We in the Culinario household call it the chicken spa day, and let me tell you this secret marinade is one of the reasons why Zephyr has come to love my roast chicken. Brining not only adds an extra layer of savoury deliciousness to the chicken but also keeps the bird moist and juicy. Now remember, this isn't a rush job. For the best results, you need to leave the bird in the brine for at least 4 hours. If you can do it overnight, that's even better!

Roast ‘em Good: The Art of Roasting a Chicken

Now let’s get into the juicy part: roasting the chicken. It's almost a sacred ritual for me as I carefully truss the bird, ensuring it stays in a compact form, full of aromatic herbs and spices. Cooking times can vary with the size of the chicken, but you're looking at roughly 20 minutes per pound of weight at an oven preheated to 200 degrees Celsius. Dedicate some love and patience when roasting your chicken. As tempting as it is to frequently open the oven door and check on the bird, refrain from doing so. You're roasting the bird, not steam-bathing it.

Basting is Your Friend

Basting is another secret to a mouthwatering chicken. The golden rule here is – baste often, baste well. This not only adds colour to the chicken but also adds another dimension of flavour and keeps the bird succulent. I have a secret weapon for basting – a perfectly blended mix of butter, garlic, lemon and a generous sprinkle of love. Or you can make an exciting concoction of your own. Get creative!

Savoury Sides: Pairing Your Roast Chicken

The theatre of a roast chicken dinner isn’t just about having a perfectly roasted star chicken. A good side dish can turn a great meal into an unforgettable one. At Zephyr’s insistence, I always pair ours with a heap of buttery mashed potatoes, but don't let that limit your side dish game! The world is your oyster – well, not literally, seafood and roast chicken wouldn't necessarily be the best combo. Anyway, consider a crunchy coleslaw, oven-roasted vegetables, or even a delightful sage and onion stuffing.

Chicken Leftover Stories: From Roast to Soup

Remember I said I might sneak in a story from my life? Well, here we go: Zephyr once asked if we could have roast chicken every day. Now, while that would be a dream come true, it got me thinking about how I could extend one roast chicken to a series of meals. So, dear reader, from roast chicken dinners to delightful chicken salads, and comforting chicken soup, your chicken can make more than one curtain call. Ever tried a chicken and vegetable stir fry from the roast leftovers? Or chicken salad? Zephyr now waits eagerly for the chicken leftovers more than the actual roast!

The Mouthwatering Conclusion: Fall in Love with your Kitchen Again

All these tidbits about cooking a tasty chicken might seem a tad excessive, but once you start experiencing the explosion of flavours in the comfort of your dining room, you will fall in love with your kitchen all over again. As you embark on this journey, remember to have fun with it. There are no hard and fast rules here. Give the traditional methods a shot, experiment a bit, and create your very own signature roast chicken. As for me, I’m off to prepare my brine for tomorrow’s roast. Zephyr's been asking for it since yesterday!