The first step is to wash the chicken and remove any excess fat. You can use paper towels to dry the chicken or you can simply allow the water to run off while you go pick some fresh herbs from the garden.
The herbs we are looking for in this project are rosemary, thyme and parsley. Be on the lookout for some fresh chives or spring onions while you're at it. If you don't have access to fresh herbs, replace them with dry ones. It's not as good, but it is still very good.
Heat some olive oil in a pan while you chop some onions (1-2) and the spring onions/chives. Lightly fry this in the olive oil on a medium temperature.
Mix some salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl.
Pour this mixture into the chicken and coat the inside of the chicken, smearing all sides. Your hand works best for this, but if you are very squeamish, you can put on some gloves.
Set your oven to 180 degrees Celcius to heat up. Never put chicken in a cold oven. The dangerous bacteria in chicken develop and flourish in temperatures between 60 and 120. Make sure your oven is well over 120 before you put the chicken in.
Allow your herb and onion mix to cool down enough to touch it. Smear about half of this over the chicken, spreading it as evenly as possible. Put the chicken on a wire rack in the oven pan, or do what I did if you don't have a wire rack that fits in the oven pan.
I realized at this stage that I could be more energy-efficient and added some potatoes to the oven pan. Simply add salt and pepper to taste and a bit of water in the pan. The delicious flavours from the chicken will drip onto the potatoes, making it unnecessary to do anything else to them.
Do not cover the chicken or the potatoes. Put the dish in the oven and bake for about 1 hour. After an hour, turn the chicken over. Set the temperature to 200 and allow the bottom of the chicken to brown. Turn the chicken over again and allw the top of the chicken to brown at the increased temperature as well. Keep an eye on the dish during this period. Too brown is never a good idea.
While you are waiting for the chicken, you can make a delicious sauce to accompany the dish. Dissolve a cube of chicken stock in 1 cup of rapidly boiling water.
Add about 50 ml of white wine vinegar to the stock. You can also use dry white wine.
Add the stock and vinegar mix to the pan with the rest of the herb mixture and bring to the boil.
Thicken the sauce with a flour and water mixture. (Add 2 spoonfuls of flour to a bowl. Add enough cold water to make a smooth paste.)
If you find that the sauce is too sour for your liking, add sugar to taste. This is very personal and I hate to be prescriptive. I added 4 desert spoons of sugar.
Once the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat.
Remove the chicken from the oven when done. Check to make sure that the potatoes are done. Put either or both back if they are not done. Once everything is cooked, add the sauciness in the oven pan to the sauce you have made. This is basically the same thing; the same herbs with natural chicken stock.
Now sit back and enjoy the family's delight.
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