I recently acquired this chicken brick (for free! I love freecyle). For those not in the know, a chicken brick is a clay pot into which you put a chicken and because of it’s shape and the fact that it’s a sealed environment, the chicken cooks lovely and moist. It takes longer than simply roasting a chicken on a roasting tray, but it’s worth it. Also, there’s no basting so you’re free to go off and do other things while it’s cooking.
Apparently you can also cook all sorts of other things in a chicken brick – lamb, soup, casseroles. And why not? It’s just a pot, after all. I’ll let you know how I get on with my experiements. But first, the roast chicken.
Serves 2 or 3, plus leftovers for sandwiches.
1 chicken (about 1.5kg)
An onion or a couple of shallots, peeled and quartered
A few carrots, peeled
A couple of stalks of celery
1 lemon, cut into quarters
4 bay leaves
A handful of fresh tarragon
150ml dry white wine
150ml water or chicken stock
First soak, the two halves of the chicken brick in water for about half an hour. This is important, it helps stop the pot cracking in the heat of the oven.
Then, do your prep:
Ignore the small sheep in the bobble hat there, he’s just trying to get in on the picture. He loves attention.
Pop the veg into the bottom of the brick. If you haven’t got all the veg or want to use different varieties, go ahead.
Put the lemon quarters, a couple of the bay leaves and the tarragon into the chicken cavity and then place it on top of the vegetables.
Pour over the wine and water or chicken stock (I just used water. I think roast chicken is chickeny enough). Season with salt and pepper and put the top of the brick and put it in a COLD oven.
Turn the oven on to 180/350/gas mark 5. Now, because you’re starting with a cold oven it’s going to take longer – about 2 to 2.5 hours. But because you’re not having to baste it every half an hour you can go and have a bath. Or to the pub. Or cook other things.
When it’s done, you get this:
Set aside the veg and chicken and keep warm while you make the gravy.
Pour the juices from the brick into a saucepan. Have a smell, it’ll be lovely. Bring it up to a simmer and if you’re feeling cheffy, thicken it with a roux. If you’re not, simply mix a tablespoon of cornflour with a tablespoon of water and pour it into the gravy to thicken it. Simmer for a few more minutes and you’re done. Serve the chicken, veg and gravy, perhaps with a potato dish (perhaps boulangere potatoes).
Don’t forget to make chicken stock with the chicken carcass.