This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been down the roast chicken path before … and I’ve taken you with me. But can you blame me? Roast chicken = crowd pleaser. Roast chicken = I made an effort with dinner (cue applause, particularly if said roast chicken occurs mid working week). And this roast chicken, well, it's spectacular. Great piping hot from the oven, eaten as leftovers over the sink when no one is looking, and pretty special the next day put through a salad or sandwiched between a few bits of bread.
I’m a fan of any roasted bird that calls for butter and/or flavouring pushed gently under the skin. Never fear it does not do anything to infringe on any crispy chicken skin requirements. It helps to keep the meat perfectly moist while acting as a serious flavour enhancer for whatever might take your fancy. I used the few ingredients I had left in the fridge - haloumi, olives and a few herbs.
Slathered with some pomegranate molasses and served with some potatoes, a far above average dinner appeared. Miraculous. So much so that I had to share it with you here. Enjoy.
Haloumi, pomegranate, olive and mint roast chicken
1 handful mint leaves, finely chopped
1 small handful fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
zest of 1 lemon
150g haloumi, grated
½ cup smoked olives, pitted, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 x free range chicken
*1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tsp dried mint
2 tsp sumac
1 lemon quartered
2 cups baby potatoes
fresh mint leaves coarsely torn
zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp grated haloumi
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Combine all the stuffing ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
Thoroughly pat the chicken dry all over with paper towel. Using clean fingers, gently and carefully separate the skin from the breast then push the stuffing under the skin until the meat of the chicken spreading as widely and evenly as possible – being very careful not to break the skin.
Combine the chicken marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Gently rub all over the chicken. Place the chicken into a roasting tin, toss in the quartered lemon if you feel like it, and roast in the pre-heated oven for 1-1½ hours depending on the size of your chicken or until the skin is golden brown and the juices run clear and the meat is cooked through. Remove from oven (retaining the juices in the pan which you set aside).
Boil the baby potatoes in a pot of boiling water for 10 – 15 minutes or until just cooked through and still slightly firm. Refresh under cold water. Halve the potatoes and add to a large bowl with the chicken juices, fresh herbs, lemon zest and grated haloumi. Toss to combine. Serve chicken with the warmed potatoes.
* Can be found at some supermarkets and specialist grocers