Nearly everyone loves a roast chicken dinner but no one likes all the washing up. This dish combines those classic flavours with the ease of the Thermomix and the smarts of modern cooking; even though each component takes quite a while they can all be done concurrently; you can have the whole meal sorted in the time it takes to roast the chicken.
The beauty of barley is that it doesn’t go gluggy when it’s reheated—so if you like, you can have it tucked away in the fridge all ready to go. The earthy, nutty barley in this recipe carries the mildly onion-y flavours that go so beautifully with chicken; coupled with some pan juices from the roasting tin, it does away with any need for a separate sauce or gravy.
All that’s needed to finish the meal is some greens with a bit of bounce—asparagus is ideal but sugar snaps or snow peas will also play well with the crumble of crisp prosciutto.
This gently-does-it method for roasting a chicken produces a juicy, tender result and we recommend giving it a go, but if you have a tried-and-tested version of your own by all means go with that and adjust your timing accordingly. And—just between us—if getting a chicken in the oven is looking too hard, you can buy a ready-cooked chicken on the way home and rely on the barley to deliver that comforting home-made feeling.
We’ve written this to make one large platter so everyone can dig in, but it can just as easily be made individually or served in separate dishes for those who are more selective.
- Heat the oven to 190C fan-forced and roast the chicken. After it has been roasting for 45 minutes, start making the barley. If you feel your chicken is cooked ahead of everything else, just switch off the oven and let it rest in the warmth of the oven.
- For the barley, place the leek into the mixing bowl and chop 3 seconds/speed 5, it should still have appreciable pieces in it. Add 10 grams of the oil and cook 5 minutes/100 degrees/speed soft; make sure the leek is soft; sometimes it may need a little more cooking. Set aside.
- Without washing the mixing bowl, add the onion and chop 1 second/Turbo. Add the remaining 10 grams of olive oil and cook 5 minutes/100 degrees/speed soft.
- Add the barley and cook 2 minutes/100 degrees/speed soft.
- Pour in the stock and cook 40 minutes/100 degrees/Reverse/speed soft with the MC in.
- Stir the leek back in and season to taste. Allow to stand with the lid on for 5 minutes. Check the consistency; add a dash or two more stock if you’d like your barley more liquid.
- While the barley is cooking, prepare the asparagus, beans, parsley and prosciutto. Slice the asparagus spears into halves or thirds, depending on their length; they look good sliced on an angle. Cut off the stalk end of the beans but leave the little tails on. Pluck the leaves from the parsley and wrap them in cling film to keep them fresh. Heat a smear of oil in a frying pan then lay the prosciutto slices in. Cook them on one side then the other until they crisp. Set aside on absorbent paper.
- Carve the chicken, or just pull it apart into serving pieces, and keep it warm in the oven. Cook the asparagus and beans in lightly salted boiling water.
- To serve: Arrange the chicken all in one place on a large serving platter or board. Spoon the hot barley alongside the chicken. Then follow with the cooked greens and the roasting onions. Crumble the crisped prosciutto and tuck it into a corner. Spoon the roasting juices over the chicken and the barley, then scatter the whole lot with the parsley.
To Roast The Chicken
- Heat the oven to 190C fan-forced. Select a deep roasting tray that will hold the chicken snugly.
- Remove the chicken from the packaging. Check inside the cavity for any giblets or other parts which need to be removed, wiping away any remaining blood or liquid with paper towel.
- Cut off the outer wing tips. Tie the “ankles” together with cooking twine. Rub the skin with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Slice a large onion into 4 thick slices, no need to peel it, and lay them on the base of the roasting tray. Rest the chicken on top and pour in water or stock to 4 centimetres deep.
- Roast in the centre of the oven for 1½ hours to 1¾ hours depending on the size of the bird. To check if it is cooked, pierce the chicken between the drumstick and thigh with a small knife. The juices should run clear and the joint should feel as though it will “give” quite easily.
- Allow the chicken to rest for 15–20 minutes before carving.
AND … “Pearled” or “pearl” barley is simply barley that has had its outer husk and bran removed, making it faster to cook. One of the most ancient of grains, it’s an excellent source of fibre.