Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread | Selma's TableWhen I first moved to London on my own in the early nineties, I worked as a P.A. to a Greek hairdresser. He and his English wife had been crowned London Hairdresser of the Year a couple of times – a reputation which they were really living off at that point. We were paid a pittance for the opportunity to work there and shine in the reflected glory of their name. I learned a great deal about the “show biz” end of hairdressing there – the photo shoots, the big national and international hair shows, the video shoots, the trade events.  When there was an event on, the hours were long and it was expected that everyone that needed to, would pitch in as necessary. I could be typing scripts and cue sheets and the almost daily changes until midnight – this would be for the elaborate hair shows that would be taken, models, wigs, outfits and all to Japan where this company had a big sponsor. For photo shoots it was usually a 6am start to get to the studio and start prepping the girls for hair, make-up and clothes. Themes, storyboarding and clothes styling were my involvement for this sort of thing, though to begin with I would be briefed with the ‘vision’ then make the phone calls to source clothes for the vision and finally bring back what I could scrounge, as hair shoots don’t really come high on any PR or designer’s list of where to loan out clothes to show their lines. Nonetheless, I managed to come back with racks of clothes for the shoots to take to the studio or the trips where his wife would oversee the vision. Eventually I was trusted enough to be invited to these events to help select the clothes and dress the models. It was a far cry from the happy, busy, personal growth and client focused, customer service driven, suburban salon I had worked in before.

Occasionally, the couple would invite the Art Team back to their house for some food (it was never a meal) to brain storm or invite all the staff over for a barbecue if an event had been particularly gruelling with the salon staff having to prop things up while the Art Team were on a punishing schedule, out of the country or working on a trade event. And it is,  of course, the Greek food that is of interest in this case – in those days, I had only eaten Greek food at that wonderful Bayswater institution, Halepi, in West London –  and also another in Claygate that included plate smashing as part of the post-meal entertainment. The barbecues that we were invited to at their house were memorable – some of his family members would be there; the men presiding over a number of small coal grills, tending to  an assortment of meats and Greek sausages as well as half a lamb on a spit. The salads were many and varied too. But the dish I remember the most was that of lemony, oregano scented potatoes – gorgeous waxy Cyprus potatoes that braise slowly in a little stock, lemon juice and oregano.

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread | Selma's TableThis Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread recipe takes it’s cue from those potatoes, though it is much more than that, of course. It is a another one-pot meal where the flavours and textures all mingle to produce a wonderful dish that is more than just a sum of it’s parts. Some of the bread and vegetables absorb the juices from the chicken and become gooey and soft whilst the rest roast and get crispy and chewy and sharp with the lemon – you can add things like artichoke hearts too if you wish or splash in some stock or wine towards the end for more of a wet roast. It is immensely adaptable to what you have in your pantry and I hope that it acts as a springboard for you – do try it with the bread though – it’s an unusual and fabulous addition!

In the photos you will note a couple of sweet potatoes which I have not included in the recipe below as I wanted to have these for my lunch the next day and not as part of this dish. We love having rocket/arugula with this – the sharp, peppery flavour is another wonderful contrast.

Greek inspired Roast Chicken with Bread

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Aliwaks Roast Chicken with Bread and Garlic

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 kg free range/organic chicken
  • 1 tsp Harissa paste
  • 1 Tbsp Sundried Tomato and Basil Paste
  • Juice of two lemons, separated and plus one whole one
  • 3-4 slices of stale sourdough bread
  • 1 head of garlic – cloves separated but skins left on
  • 2 leeks, cleaned of any sand
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp Green and Black olives stuffed with sundried tomato, garlic and rosemary
  • 8 Sundried tomatoes
  • 700 g waxy potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt
  • Greek “Olive Branch” EVO oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix the Harissa, sundried tomato paste and the juice of one lemon together to make a runny paste.
  2. Untruss the chicken. Remove as much visible fat as you can from the cavity and discard along with the trussing. If there are giblets, freeze them to make gravy another time.
  3. Smear the paste all over the chicken and inside the cavity and leave to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
  4. In the meantime, slice the bread into large cubes, slice the leeks into 1 inch segments and peel and halve the potatoes and arrange in a large roasting dish. Scatter over the garlic cloves, olives and the sundried tomatoes. Squeeze over the juice of the second lemon and sprinkle with oregano and sea salt.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F
  6. Stuff the chicken with a halved lemon
  7. Lubricate the bread and vegetables with some olive oil and arrange the chicken on top, making sure that it is sitting on some of the bread and the potatoes which will absorb the chicken juices. Pour over any remaining marinade that has been left on the plate, back over the chicken.  Drizzle a little oil over the chicken and sprinkle with sea salt to help the skin crisp up.
  8. Cook the chicken for 20 minutes at 220C/425F and then turn down the heat to 180C/350F and give the pan a shake, turning over any bread and vegetables that are not covered by the chicken. Roast for another 40 – 55 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken and until the juices run clear at the leg joint.
  9. Turn off the oven. Remove chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Keep the vegetables and the bread warm, also loosely covered, in the residual heat of the oven.
  10. Carve the chicken as you wish but make sure that everyone gets a good mix of crispy chewy, roasted vegetables and bread as well as some which have absorbed the chicken juices – it is a real textural revelation!

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesIt’s International Scone Week and I am joining Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial where she will be hosting a scone recipe round up at the end of the week. She started this 3 years ago as she and her friends found themselves baking scones at about the same time and it has now become a rather wonderful tradition. As I was too busy to join in with Celia’s monthly In My Kitchen series (even though I have some wonderful things to share with you so will save them for next month) I made it a point to join this round up when I saw Celia’s post on Instagram, which was followed swiftly by her blog post – http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2014/08/11/international-scone-week-2014

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesIt is also my first anniversary here on the blog. It’s been a wonderful year, a huge learning curve with the bonus of  getting to know so many of you. I have met Elaine of Foodbod and had a super time in Borough Market with her. Tina of Mademoiselle Gourmande is coming to London in  September and we are deciding on whether to have Afternoon Tea or Dim Sum when we meet – either way, I cannot wait! I regularly meet friends of friends who follow and read my blog which is always wonderful as well as being a little scary too – so much to live up to! Thank you all, for your support and friendship and for following me on so many different social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest – where I do try and keep the majority of my posts different so that I don’t bore you with the same photos and posts!) Thank you for sharing my posts, retweeting them, favouriting them, commenting on them and re-pinning them. It has been fabulous having you all along on this journey.

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Mr Fitz  is always going on about Mrs Middleton’s Cold-Pressed Rapeseed Oil on his blog. He recently re-tweeted a post of theirs that said they were sending out samples to interested chefs and bloggers. I immediately emailed then, told them that I had heard of them from Mr Fitz (‘Ah, good old Mr Fitz’, was their reply!) and received a very chic bottle of their rather gorgeous oil. Let me tell you, I can see what all the fuss is about now. The seeds are grown on the family farm in Bedfordshire and each batch of oil is labelled with the name of the field where the seed was grown so that you can track where your oil has come from! Cold pressed below 40C and filtered once after the residues have settled, this glowing golden oil has a rounded mellow and slightly nutty flavour profile. It’s been wonderful in salad dressings and I plan to try it in a mayonnaise next.

I have just found out that the oil (as well as their Stone Ground Flour) has been awarded stars by the Guild of Fine Food in the Great Taste Awards! You can buy this delicious award winning oil, directly from Mrs Middleton’s website (they have some offers on at the moment) or from stockists which they list on their site – http://www.mrsmiddleton.co.uk

 

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesRapeseed oil (also known as Canola oil in Canada and the States) has less unhealthy saturated fat than all other cooking oils and fats and is high in beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats omega 3, 6 and 9 and anti-oxidants. It also has a high smoke point which is very useful for oven roasting, pan and deep frying. In Britain, there are no commercially grown GMO rapeseed crops which is not always the case in other countries. I feel like I have waited far too long to start using this oil!

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesAnyway, I have been wanting to showcase Mrs Middleton’s rather lovely oil and developed a delicious savoury scone recipe, which is really moist yet crumbly.  Unlike most scone recipes, there is no rubbing in of butter or even any addition of eggs. The grated cheese and the oil provide the moisture. Traditionally, self raising flour is used but I have run out so if you would prefer to use self raising flour then only add 1 tsp of baking powder to the flour.  These are wedge scones and bake together therefore these do take a little longer to bake than the scones that are stamped out. And remember that the less you handle the dough, the crumblier and shorter your scones will turn out.

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

*Disclaimer – I was sent a bottle of Mrs Middelton’s Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil to try out but the opinions expressed in this piece are entirely my own.*

Feta, Sundried Tomatoes and Thyme Scones

  • Servings: 8 scone wedges
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Rape Seed Oil Benefits

INGREDIENTS

  • 225 g plain flour/ AP flour
  • 1 Tbsp (15g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp Essential vegetable stock powder
  • 75 g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves chopped, save a few whole ones for garnish
  • 60 g sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 125 ml milk
  • 50 ml Mrs Middleton’s cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • 50 g feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • a little extra milk to glaze

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 225 C/ 440F. Line baking sheet with baking parchment and sprinkle over a little flour.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and vegetable stock powder, three times to thoroughly incorporate all three ingredients.
  3. Using an table knife, mix in the cheddar and thyme leaves to coat with the flour.
  4. Make a well in this mixture and pour in the milk and rapeseed oil. Add ¾ of the chopped sun dried tomatoes.
  5. Using the table knife and a light hand, mix in the bowl until the flour has been incorporated.
  6. Lightly flour or oil your fingers and push into a ball shape in the mixing bowl then turn out straight onto the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Pat down gently into a circular shape until it is 1 inch in height.
  8. Using a pizza wheel or a knife, cut into 8 triangles.
  9. Scatter over the feta cheese and the reserved sun dried tomatoes and press into the dough. Scatter over the reserved thyme leaves.
  10. Brush the top only, with a little milk.
  11. Bake for 20- 25 mins. Test after 20 minutes – you don’t want it over baked – under baked is better as it continues to cook in the middle as it is cooling down.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.