Roast chicken with mandarin sauce

This is a roast chicken dish made a little bit special, using asian inspired ingredients with a seasonal citrus twist.

Overall Recipe Difficulty: Advanced
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1.5kg Pindarri poultry chicken
1 lemon
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

FENNEL DISH
4 large/8 small fennel bulbs
2 tbsp five spice powder
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
Rice and broccoli, to serve

MANDARIN SAUCE
1 thumb-size knob ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup Chinese shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 cup chicken stock
6 mandarins
1 bunch spring onions
Sugar , to taste
Soy sauce , to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 220C.
  2. Prepare the chook: Rinse chook (including cavity) under cold running water, shake out excess water and pat dry with kitchen towel.
    Halve and juice the lemon. Reserve. Season cavity with salt and pepper. Pop the two juiced lemon halves into the cavity. Tie the chook legs together to keep them in. Mix or shake the salt, lemon juice, oil and cinnamon together. Massage the mix all over the chicken.
  3. Cook the chook: Place the chook on a rack in an oven tray breast-side up. Tuck the wings under the bird. Pour a cup of water into the roasting tray so the juice that drips out won‘t burn in the bottom of the pan before you turn it into the sauce.Cook for 20 minutes then turn the temperature down to 180C. Roast for a further 40 minutes until the chook is cooked.
  4. Cook the fennel: Cut and trim the fennel and cut into wedges. Add fennel to an oiled baking tray, toss and sprinkle with the five spice powder. This gives the vegie a lovely warmth. Splash on some water - about 1/4 cup - and cover loosely with foil to protect the fennel. Put in the oven half an hour after the chook has gone in.
  5. Cook until the fennel is softened (about 20 minutes) and then remove the foil to get the fennel sticky and burnished - to almost blackness in spots
  6. Check the chook: Check if the chook is cooked. Use a meat thermometer or pierce the thigh at its thickest part, and if the juices are clear and free of any redness it is done. Tilt the chook so any juices in the chook spill into the pan.
  7. Rest the chook: Rest, covered, out of the oven, for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, finish the fennel and make the mandarin sauce.
  8. Finish the fennel: Mix brown sugar and soy sauce together and toss through the fennel. Turn off the oven but pop fennel back in to keep warm.
  9. Make the mandarin sauce: Remove the metal rack and drain the fat and the juices from the chook roasting pan into a jug. Put the pan on the stove and give it some gentle heat. Skim the fat from the juices and put in a jug.
  10. Put a little fat into the pan. Fry garlic and ginger until soft. Deglaze the pan with the shoaxing wine (or sherry). Add chicken stock and cook.
  11. Zest one mandarin then juice them all. Add juice and zest to the sauce and cook for five minutes. Strain out the bits and put the sauce back in a clean pan (wipe clean if using the same pan). Reduce and season with a little sugar and soy sauce - about 2 teaspoons of each should do it.
  12. To serve: You can either break down the bird and plate it in pieces Chinese-style dressed with the mandarin sauce or do it the Aussie way and carve it. Then use the mandarin sauce like a gravy. Serve with rice, steamed broccoli as well as the warm fennel.

Notes
* This recipe works equally well with pork or duck.

 Recipe courtesty of Matt Preston and Taste.com.au