Monday, 29 June 2009

Cherry Tomato and Basil Roast Chicken

Because (a) almost every Sunday I cook roast chicken for lunch and (b) we have a bumper crop of basil in the garden. I decided to make this.

It's from 'Jamie's Dinners' (with one or two 'tweaks'). I'm not a huge Jamie fan (despite having 4 of his cookbooks), as I've found quite a few of his dishes disappointing. However, this turned out to be a wonderful summery, dish.

Apart from tasting great, it has the added bonuses of being made in one pan (less washing up) and you don't need to make any gravy when it's ready - the tomatoes sort of 'melt' into juice and take care of that.

I would have loved to have made this with some home-grown tomatoes but until we find someone willing to donate us a greenhouse we'll have to make do with good-quality store-bought ones. If you do have a crop of shiny little red marbles in your greenhouse then I urge you to make this, that is, of course, if you haven't already eaten them!

Cherry Tomato and Basil Roast Chicken
(aka Crispy Everyday Chicken)

1 whole chicken (1.5-2kg) jointed into 10 pieces
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a big bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
2 packets of cherry (preferably plum) tomatoes (about 500g), halved,
1 whole bulb of garlic, broken up into cloves
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
olive oil
500-750g new potatoes (depending on how many you are serving)

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Put your chicken pieces into a snug-fitting pan in one layer. Throw in all the basil leaves and stalks, then chuck in your tomatoes and potatoes. Scatter the garlic cloves into the pan with the chopped chilli and drizzle over some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix around a bit, pushing the potatoes underneath. Place in the oven for 1½ hours, until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat falls off the bone.
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