Seasoning your chicken is optional. Here’s the Sommerlad family’s favourite special occasion mixture:
Herb, Bacon, Apple and Pine Nut Seasoning (Stuffin’)
2 – 3 cups fresh breadcrumbs (hand crumbled)
2 or 3 sliced shallots
2 tblsps. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsps. mixed dried herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil and/or 1 beaten egg
1 – 2 rashers of bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 small Granny Smith apple, chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup pine nuts
Mix all the seasoning ingredients together, using just enough olive oil to combine the mixture. If you like your seasoning to hold together firmly, (like a meat loaf consistency rather than crumble), add one beaten egg as well. Spoon into cavity of chicken, pressing in lightly as you go. At this point you can tie the legs together with cooking string (twine) and tuck the wings under, but it is O.K. to just push the bottom flaps in to help hold in the stuffing.
Slow Roast Cooking Instructions:
Because of their unique breeding and longer outdoor life, our slower growing heritage bred chickens develop firm texture, and the rich flavour that people used to expect from chicken meat. These special birds need to be cooked slower than modern fast-grown factory chooks, using lower temperatures and moist cooking methods.
Pre-heat oven to 150°C -160°C
Allow approximately 45 minutes per 500 grams.
Cover the bottom of a roasting pan with approximately 1 cm of water. Place the chicken breast-side up into the pan, rub lightly with olive oil (optional) and sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.
Cover loosely with foil and place in oven.
Baste regularly with the pan juices throughout the cooking process and add more water if it evaporates too much.
Remove the foil towards the end of the cooking process to brown and crisp the skin. Put the foil aside to cover the resting chicken later on.
To check if the chicken is cooked: insert a knife or skewer into the thigh. If the juices run clear, and not pink, and if the leg rocks easily in the socket, it is ready. Please note that our chickens sometimes have a beautiful browny/pink colour in the legs and thigh meat because of the heritage breeding, and this is not to be confused with under cooking.
Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and place on a serving platter to rest for approximately 10-20 minutes, loosely covered again with the foil.
During this time you may like to turn the oven up really high to have crunchy baked vegetables, and you can make a delicious gravy or sauce with the richly flavoured roast chicken pan juices.
Lastly, sit down with your family and friends and experience real chicken, the way it used to be.
Frozen chicken must be thawed completely before cooking and the safest way to do this is in the refrigerator for a minimum of 48 hours – I like 3 days.
Wash all preparation surfaces and equipment carefully after preparing the chicken.
Leftover cooked chicken (if there is any!) must be refrigerated quickly.