This September marks the 20th Anniversary of Freedom Food, the RSPCA’s food accreditation scheme and in conjunction with Sainsbury's, who sell over 60% of the UK's Freedom Food certified products, and I have developed a delicious recipe for you to enjoy, using a Freedom Food certified whole Chicken.
Freedom Food was developed to promote higher welfare foods but with a more affordable price tag and hopefully my recipe can inspire you to explore the range. I do try to buy free range or at least freedom food products where possible but I admit I am not perfect and by buying the best we can, it affords a little peace of mind that we are doing the right thing. This whole meal including the sides came in well under £10, approximately £7.50 for the four of us.
Now this recipe is possibly not for the faint hearted...It involves a little bit of butchery..but its relatively easy so don't fear! I have via trips en France acquired a few pairs of poultry shears but if you have a sharp heavy knife or decent scissors you can also achieve the results.. by spatchcocking the chicken, it cooks quicker, its easier to carve and also marinade too - a win win situation! I have given instructions but if in doubt simply look for online guides to show you how!
When it comes to marinading things, especially those involving chillies you want to be careful on the whole eye face contact afterwards...for which I can't recommend having been there got the tee shirt but I can recommend using CSI style gloves for this manouvere! You can pick them up pretty cheaply and they save a lot of mess and facial burn risks!
I spent ages trying to decide what to make with the chicken but after much deliberation I decided to go vaguely down the Thai route, using zesty lime juice, fresh fragrant coriander and a little chilli to add a little zing to the party! It worked really well, I just wish my oven understood the crispy setting - I am sure it will go a far more delicious shade of golden n crispy in a regular oven!
1 x whole Freedom Food Chicken
15g fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Nam Pla (fish sauce)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
You will need 2 x metal or bamboo skewers to keep the chicken in place but its not essential so don't worry too much if you don't have some!
Start by turning your chicken over and using your shears or equivalent sharp implement remove the backbone, cutting through either side of it. Remove any excess fatty bits or skin.
Turn the chicken back over so its breast side up and use the heel of your hand to press down so that the chicken breast and legs are all one equal layer
In a small bowl combine the coriander, chilli, lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, oil and season with salt and pepper.
Glove up and get massaging your chicken all over. Place on a large, shallow baking tray and using the skewers, thread through to form a kriss kross, to keep the chicken in one layer.
Marinade for a couple of hours, though one hour will be okay..
Pre-heat the oven to 180o, then cook the chicken covered in foil for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, baste with the juices and roast for a further 15-20 minutes, or until juices run clean and its cooked through. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before carving.
The easiest way is to use a sharp knife to remove the legs, then remove the breast meat. This way you can also please your squeamish guest who dislikes meat on the bone!
Personally for me the legs are the best bit - juicy and flavoursome! What is your favourite part?
To go with my chicken I tested out my Steama cooking basmati rice for the first time - I flavoured it with a little coconut and seasoned on serving with soy sauce, nice and simple! I also added steamed broccoli dressed with sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil:
Many thanks to Sainsbury's who provided vouchers to cover the cost of the meal and my time developing the recipe.