Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Chicken at gas mark "S"

I have been banging on here, ever since my first entry, about roasting at low oven settings. A good principle is: decide how long your meat should stay in the oven; roast it at the lowest temperature that will cook it in that time. Belly pork and shoulder of lamb can withstand long cooking, so you turn the dial to low, put in the joints, and forget about them for several hours. Duck, turkey and chicken have lean breasts that dry out easily. You want to speed the cooking, and to burnish the skin, with a high heat; but you do not need that high heat for the entire time that it will take to tenderise the tougher meat on the birds' thighs.

When I cooked a duck, I started it at gas mark 6/200 C, and turned down the dial to "S" (about 130 C in my oven) after half an hour. I follow roughly the same procedure with chicken, but usually with the second setting of gas mark 2/150 C. At the weekend, I gambled with the lowest setting. I took the chicken out of the fridge three hours before it was due to go in the oven. I turned on the oven at full heat for 20 minutes before the chicken was due to go in. I turned down the dial to gas mark 6, put in the chicken for half an hour, and turned down the dial to "S".

The 2 kg chicken was cooked, and bronzed, after an hour and fifty minutes. My conclusion is that roasting recipes specify higher oven temperatures than are necessary.

1 comment:

Konstantin said...

Well, I suppose it will be cooked but not roasted chicken.
I think roasting is different from boiling - which is why the temperature should be higher.
I think if it was that simple with reducing temperature and extending cooking time we could cook right in the freezers.