Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Better Roast chicken...

Handsome Heston give us some yummy Michelin star secrets.

No more shoe leather dry chicken

Love his saying - I like to serve a smell with my food...

I'm a firm believer in juicy chicken - can think of nothing worse than dry chicken.  I simply cover my chicken in foil till its ready but Heston has some other tricks to keep your chicken moist which I might try next time I cook a bird.

Heston's top 10 tips for chicken


Feel like chicken every night with Heston's top tips for a juicy, succulent bird
1. Before you roast your chicken, undo and remove the trussing that squashes the legs and breast together. This will help give a more even temperature throughout the bird.
2. Brine your bird! Boost the moisture in the meat by putting the chicken in a washing up bowl of salt solution overnight (60g salt per litre of water). Brining changes the proteins in the meat, enabling the chicken to hold onto more moisture when it's cooking.
3. In a really hot oven, meat contracts and squeezes out its juices. Instead, Heston cooks his chicken at 90 degrees, then checks its temperature with a thermometer in the thickest part of the breast - to stick with safety guidelines, it needs to be 75°C, but Heston finds 60° gives him the perfect result.
4. Smells are just lost flavour! Don't be disappointed if your kitchen doesn't smell deliciously chickeny when you roast your bird low and slow - it'll taste all the better for it.
5. And... rest. Once cooked, leave your chicken uncovered out of the oven for 45 minutes to let it relax and keep hold of all of its juices.
6. The best way to achieve an intense meaty flavoured chicken stock is to add extra protein to the stock, which will bring about the Maillard reaction - a chemical reaction similar to caramelization. Heston's technique involves adding chicken wings and skimmed milk powder to the carcass and using a pressure cooker.
7. Freeze your stock in ice cube trays for easy future use.
8. Breast isn't always best - chicken thighs give far more flavour, and make great additions to pies.
9. When making a pie filling, fry the chicken skin, then fry off your leeks or other vegetables in the fat left behind. This way you use the lovely flavour of the skin without putting any in your pie.
10. Heston's magic ingredient is agar-agar, which is made from seaweed. Buy it from your supermarket and use it to make sauces thick and creamy.
Image: Angela Moore, Art Direction: Graphic Thought Facility

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