Monday Muse: Italian Roast Chicken

Let’s kick off The Foodscape’s ALL NEW Monday Muse series with Nigella Lawson’s incredible Italian Roast Chicken with Peppers & Olives! ❤

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I’ve always wondered about how I came to be a food blogger/baker/amateur food photographer and stylist, and every time I try to put a finger on just what got me here, there’s one thing that comes to mind – inspiring people. From my mom, to television food personalities, cookbook authors, bloggers, food photographers, stylists and home cooks, there are so many people who have contributed to my food journey.

So, I came up with the idea of Monday Muse, a blog series that will give me an opportunity to recreate (some of) my favourite recipe(s) by these lovely people, some of whom may not even know I walk this earth. 😛 It’s just my little way of saying thank you for giving me that extra push further on this path.

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For my first installment of Monday Muse, it’s only fitting that I introduce you to one of my greatest inspirations and one of the only two people I would fangirl over (the other being Ed Sheeran!) – THE Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson!

I know this seems a little cliche; baker girl with a love for Nigella. But I’m not going to apologize, because I love Nigella’s unapologetic approach towards food. Through her fabulously written books and recipes and the pure joy she takes in flavour – a joy which is very apparent on her visage when she takes a bite of something sublime -, I have learnt more about food and my food identity than I could have ever wished for.

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To kick this series off, I’ve decided to go with something savoury; something I haven’t dared to try before. A WHOLE ROAST CHICKEN! I’ve always admired those stunning pictures of roast chickens and turkeys, with their crispy, glossy, golden skins, shimmering in the light; surrounded by potatoes and gravy; you know the kind! But I never got around to cooking one myself. I’ve always thought of it as a mountain too high to climb! But with Nigella, anything is easy! 😀

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Here’s what you need to recreate Nigella’s Italian Roast Chicken with Peppers & Olives. This recipe serves 4.

  • Skin on, Whole Chicken – 1.5 kg, thoroughly cleaned
  • Lemon – 1, halved
  • Rosemary – 6 sprigs
  • Leeks – 3, washed
  • Red Bell Peppers – 2
  • Yellow Bell Pepper – 2
  • Pitted Black Olives – 100 g
  • Olive Oil – 50 ml
  • Salt & Pepper – to taste

Here’s how you make this incredible, one-pan Italian Roast Chicken with Peppers & Olives:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 °C/390 °F. Sit the whole chicken in a large roasting tin and fill the cavity with the halved lemons and 3 sprigs of rosemary. Truss the chicken.
  • Cut each leek into 3 logs and slice them lengthwise. Core and de-seed the red and yellow bell peppers and slice into strips. Add the veggies to the roasting tin.
  • Add in the olives. Then drizzle the chicken and veggies with olive oil. Rub the olive oil over the skin of the chicken, and toss the veggies around to coat them with the oil. Add the remaining rosemary to the veggies.
  • Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the chicken and the veggies (I used 1 & 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tsp pepper). Pop the roasting tin into the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. You know the chicken is cooked through when the juices run clear when you pierce the flesh with a sharp knife on the thigh. The veggies will be soft, tender and charred in bits.
  • If you want the chicken skin crisper and more browned, you can pop the chicken under the broiler for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then carve it and serve with the veggies, pan juices and some crusty bread to mop all that deliciousness up!

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You guys, this recipe is crazy easy! Almost TOO easy! It barely needs any work, especially if you bring home a pre-cleaned whole chicken. All you’ve got to do is chop the veggies, place them and the chicken in a roasting tin, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper, pop into the oven and forget about it for the next 75 minutes! Remind me again, just why I thought this was too hard a task? 😛

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This recipe is one of the treasures found in the treasure trove that is Nigellissima – a book overflowing with Nigella’s spin on Italian cuisine. I’ve learnt a tonne from this book; it may not all be authentic, but it is downright lip-smacking!

This Italian Roast Chicken with Peppers & Olives is the stuff of dreams. As it cooked in the oven, our home was filled with the most wonderful aromas of sweet peppers, leeks and black pepper. As the aromas wafted toward us, we knew we were in for one amazing meal. Any worries I had about it not being spiced enough for our Indian taste buds vanished in that instant!

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The flavours and textures were all there! The chicken was tender, juicy and pink; the skin, crispy; seasoning was on point; the bell peppers had crumpled into nice bits of oozing sweetness; while the leeks were charred, crunchy and so gorgeous! The olives brought a nice hit of freshness and acidity to the dish, and the rosemary really lifted it all up and made it the dreamy, magazine worthy, gourmet gastronomical extravaganza that it was! My mouth waters as I write this! ❤

In true Nigella fashion, this Italian Roast Chicken with Peppers & Olives was a robust, hearty home cooked meal! 🙂 Just perfect for festivities or even a weekend! I’m sure you’ll love it, because, ladies and gents, Nigella Lawson does not disappoint! ❤

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Who’s as excited as I am for Nigella’s upcoming book At My Table? 😀

For regular updates on what’s happening in The Foodscape kitchen, follow us on Instagram at @thefoodscape! You’ll love all the deliciousness there, I promise! ❤

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