The Perfect Roast Chicken and Chocolate Mousse

This weekend has been busy with cooking. With beautiful ingredients coming into season and the spring sunshine (even if it was interspersed with hail showers!) we both found it quite inspirational.

A few months back I brought a copy of The River Cottage Meat Book. Until this weekend I hadn’t really read it properly. I though it was just going to be a book full of meat recipes, but in reality it’s an insightful book with the understanding of meat and various ways of cooking it. I’m not a huge meat eater, but found it really interesting. Thanks to this book Hubby has come over all Hugh F-W (minus the curls) and decided to have a go at curing pork. We now have a belly of pork coated in salt living in a Tupperware box under the sink. He’s then planning on smoking half of it in the chimney. After this he wants to try making chorizo.

With the duck eggs we picked up yesterday we also managed to get a beautiful local free-range chicken. With my planning quite a few chicken based dishes this week I decided it was the most economical way of buying and cooking chicken. I’ve never cooked a full chicken before, I guess I found it a bit scary. Last July I did cook a crown of chicken, it was nice, but not perfect and it knocked my confidence.

Well Hugh installed my confidence and I managed to cook a perfect, tasty, succulent roast chicken with a delicious non-greasy gravy to go with it (a serious achievement for me!) We had the chicken with garlic & herb stuffing, creamed leeks, carrots, roast potatoes and Yorkshire puds made with a duck egg. The duck egg made a really good Yorkie pud batter.

The Perfect Roast Chicken – thanks to Hugh!
for a 2.5kg chicken

2.5kg free-range chicken
100g butter, softened
handful of parsley, rosemary and thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper
100ml white wine

1) Preheat oven to 210oc. Mix butter, herbs, garlic and seasoning. Rub all over chicken. Cook for 20 min

2) Turn oven down to 180oc, baste chicken then pour wine into roasting tray (don’t pour over the chicken.) Cook for a further 50 min. The chicken is done when the juices run clear.

3) Cover in foil and allow to rest for 20 min.

My rule on Sundays is always to make a dessert, just in case the roast goes wrong (once in a blue moon it does when I’m experimenting). For the dessert I was looking for Nigellas help. When sorting the kitchen cupboards I found some dark chocolate Hubby had bought back from Italy and it needed using up. In Nigella Express she makes an egg less chocolate mousse. I have to say it turned out as a beautiful, dense, rich chocolate mousse. very much an adult chocolate mousse. I took the original recipe and divided it by 3 to give enough for just the 2 of us. It was so rich we only managed to eat half of it…not that I’m complaining as it means some for Monday! Next time rather than serving it in ramekins I may make it in shot glasses.

Chocolate Mousse
Makes 2 ramekins or 4 shot glasses

50g marshmallows, chopped into small pieces
15g unsalted butter
80g dark chocolate, broken up
20ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle
95ml double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1) In a heavy saucepan gently heat marshmallows, butter, dark chocolate and hot water. Stir occasionally until everything has melted and is smooth. Remove from the heat.

2) Whip cream with vanilla extract until thick. Gently fold in chocolate until well combined. Pour into ramekins/shot glasses, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

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