When I get home late from work, I’m not only too frazzled to think but I’m not particularly hungry yet. This recipe is therefore my Platonic ideal of after-work cooking. It’s good, it involves about five minutes of doing things, and gives me just enough time to relax, feel human and get hungry in time to eat. And if you’re cooking for two, you’re likely to have leftovers for at least one lunch.
Roast chicken with lemon and basil
1. Turn on the oven to 200°C/400°F.
2. Put 6-8 skin on, bone-in chicken pieces in a roasting tray or casserole dish. Season, and pour over some nice olive oil, enough to moisten the chicken and form a little pool in the bottom of the dish. (I put some crushed chiles on this time for kicks.)
3. Cut 1-2 lemons in half, squeeze over chicken, throw the shells in. Take a couple cloves of garlic, squash but don’t bother peeling, and throw in the dish. Put dish in hot oven.
4. If you have one and want some rice, get the rice cooker set up but don’t turn it on yet.
5. After 30 minutes (or a few minutes longer if you didn’t bother to wait for it to fully preheat), switch on rice cooker and take chicken out of oven. Get a big handful of basil, rip it up, throw it in dish with chicken, stir, and put back in oven.
5a. Think to yourself, ‘Self, do I have the wherewithal to make a frozen vegetable, too?’ If the answer is yes, put a pot of water on to boil. Either way, go sit on the couch for 10 minutes.
6. After your second rest period, if you’re vegetable-ready, add your chosen frozen produce to the boiling water. Take the chicken out of the oven, put it on the stove over a high flame, and add a glass of white wine to the dish. Let it bubble for a couple minutes, drain your veggies if needed.
Thank you Nigel Slater (last recipe on the page). And if you’re cooking for one, it’s easily halved.