I just spent a couple of days in Venice, I’ve been before but I’d forgotten just how magical it is.
I arrived late in the evening having taken a fast train across the top of Italy from Turin where I had been attending the Slow Food Salone del Gusto Terra Madre event.
Marcella Hazan's roast chicken with lemons
Simpe roast chicken - that is all that there is to this recipe. No fat to cook with, no basting to do, no stuffing to prepare, no condiments except for salt and pepper
Preparation Time 30 mins
Cooking Time 2 hours 0 mins
Total Time 2 hours 30 mins
1.35-1.8kg free range organic chicken
freshly ground black pepper
2 small lemons
trussing needle and string
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Rub the salt and freshly ground black pepper with your fingers over all the chicken and into the cavity.
Wash the lemons well and dry them with a tea towel, roll on the counter and prick each of the lemons in at least 20 places with a cocktail stick or skewer. Put both lemons in the cavity.
Close up the opening with cocktail sticks or with a trussing needle and string. Don’t make it absolutely airtight or the chicken may burst.
Put the chicken into a roasting pan, breast side down. Do not add cooking fat of any kind. This bird is self-basting, so don’t worry it won’t stick to the pan.
Place it in the upper third of the preheated oven. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken breast side up. Be careful not to puncture the skin.
Cook for another 30-35 minutes then increase the heat to 200°C, and cook for a further additional 20 minutes. Calculate between 20-25 minutes total cooking time for each 500g.
There is no need to turn the chicken again.
Bring the chicken to the table whole and leave the lemons inside until it is carved. The juices that run out are perfectly delicious, so be sure to spoon them over the chicken slices. The lemons will have shrivelled up but they still contain some juice; do not squeeze, they may squirt. Serve immediately.
This recipe is from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.
Marcella Hazan's Ragu
A classic. Wonderfully versatile.
Preparation Time 20 mins
Cooking Time 3 hours 0 mins
Total Time 3 hours 20 mins
- 45g (1 1/2oz) butter
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp carrot, finely chopped
350g (12oz) minced lean beef, preferably chuck or neck
300ml (10fl oz) dry white wine
110ml (4fl oz) milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 x 400g (14oz) tin Italian tomatoes, roughly chopped with their own juice.
In Italy they sometimes use an earthenware pot for making ragu, but I find that a heavy enamelled cast-iron casserole with high sides works very well.
Heat the butter with the oil and sauté the onion briefly over medium heat until just translucent.
Add the celery and carrot and cook gently for 2 minutes. Next add the minced beef, crumbling it in the pot with a fork.
Add salt to taste, stir, and cook only until the meat has lost its raw red colour (Marcella says that if it browns it will lose its delicacy.)
Add the wine, turn the heat up to medium high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the wine has evaporated.
Turn the heat down to medium, add in the milk and the freshly grated nutmeg, and cook until the milk has evaporated, stirring every now and then.
Next add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. When the tomatoes have started to bubble, turn the heat down to the very lowest so that the sauce cooks at the gentlest simmer - just an occasional bubble. I use a heat diffuser mat for this.
Cook uncovered for a minimum of 1 1/2 hours (better still 2 or even 3 hours), depending on how concentrated you like it, stirring occasionally.
If it reduces too much add a little water and continue to cook. When it is finally cooked, taste and correct seasoning.
Because of the length of time involved in cooking this, I feel it would be worthwhile to make at least twice the recipe.
Don’t miss Savour Kilkenny Food Festival which runs from October 28 to 31, 2022. Taking place over the October Bank holiday weekend, the event celebrates the produce, food and culture of Kilkenny. Rory O’Connell will take to the demo stage on Saturday at 4pm.
For more information, see www.savourkilkenny.com
Tuesday, December 13, from 9am – 2pm.
Gather a few friends together and join us as an alternative to the traditional Christmas Party.
This is a great course to come and learn some practical hands-on skills and have fun. It gives a tantalising taste of the Ballymaloe Cookery School and provides inspiration for anyone eager to cook a variety of dishes with greater confidence.
Limited numbers, €220 per person. Recipes and tastings of all dishes included.
For more information, see www.cookingisfun.ie