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Mar 23, 2017

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Rehash the Roast
by Toby Puttock
Magazine Issue: AUS/NZ Issue Four

I'VE HAD A ROAST ON SUNDAY SINCE I WAS A RUG-RAT. YOU SEE, MY DAD'S FROM ENGLAND AND IT'S SORT OF TRADITION FOR THE POMS TO GET TOGETHER ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND COOK UP A ROAST.

ALTHOUGH MY STYLE OF COOKING IS HEAVILY ITALIAN-BASED, THIS DISH IS DEFINATELY NOT. IT'S A ONE ROASTING DISH EXTRAVAGANZA THAT'S SO EASY TO COOK. WE TEAMED IT UP WITH A COUPLE OF SLICK WINES, CHOOSEN BY MATTY SKINNER, AND SPENT THE AFTERNOON SIPPING, COOKING AND HAVING A RIGHT OLD TIME. IT'S A TOP WAY TO LET A WINTER'S DAY PAS YOU BY.

Roast Chicken with Winter Vegetables

YOU'LL NEED
1 chicken
1/2 bunch of rosemary
1 bunch of thyme
1/2 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of marjoram
Olive oil
1 lemon
Salt and pepper
String (for trussing)

WHAT TO DO
Pick all of the herbs off, bring them together on a cutting board and go for it. Chop them super fine. Grate the zest of the lemon into the mix and add enough olive oil so that the herbs combine.

Now very carefully loosen the skin from the flesh of the chicken using your fingers. Go easy so that you don't tear the skin.. Now gently smear the herb mix in between the flesh and the skin. If you want to get a little fancy, grab a sharp knife and make some incisions around the drumsticks. To get that crispy skin when it's cooked, massage some salt into the skin of the chicken. Salt absorbs liquid so this layer will absorb any fats oozing from the chook.

I like to fill the cavity of the chook with a halved lemon, some herbs and even prosciutto. Trussing the chicken (tying its legs together) will help it hold its shape while roasting.

The Vegies

YOU'LL NEED
2 large potatoes
1 parsnip
4 baby organic beet roots
1/4 of a pumpkin
1 sweet potato
1 bunch of thyme
A roasting tray

WHAT TO DO
All of these vegies have similar cooking times, which is why we can cook everything together. It's really important to cut the vegies the same size so that they're all ready at the same time. Once the vegies are cut, put them in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper. If you like herbs with your vegies, this is a good time to add them in. Drizzle some olive oil over your veggies and toss them so that the oil, salt and pepper covers all sides of your vegies.

To put the extravaganza together, place the bird in the middle of the roasting tray and surround it with the lush vegies. Place the tray in a pre-heated oven and cook until the juices from the bird run clear. The vegies are ready when the skewer will plunge into the centre with little pressure applied. When everything's ready, serve her up and dig in.

WINES TO MATCH
This dish is really versatile when it comes to matching it with wine. Fuller-bodied white varieties, such as chardonnay, will work here as well as will lighter reds, such as pinot noir. For the sake of the exercise (and not just 'cause we like drinking) we've gone for one of each.

Both examples are well made, widely available and represent great value for money. Coldstream Hills Chardonnay 1999 is a really well balanced wine and right up to the "roast chicken challenge", displaying ripe citrusy fruit, well integrated oak and a gentle but focused acidity. Tamar Ridge Pinot Noir 2000 from Tasmania's south coast is an honest and lovable workhorse with concentrated raspberry fruit, spice and earth smells that, like the chardonnay, work hand in hand with the gentle sweetness and overall texture of the bird.

Rhubarb Crumble

Delicious, and an old-school Brit's favourite. My Granny in Weymouth (southern England) used to prepare this dish regularly in their guesthouse. She refused to give me her recipe so I sourced another decent recipe and switched apples for rhubarb. I was surprised how quick it was to put together.

YOU'LL NEED
100g brown sugar
1 t baking powder
60g unsalted butter
150g plain flour
2 cups poached and drained rhubarb
Soufflé moulds

WHAT TO DO
Mix the sugar with the baking powder. Then, put the butter in with the flour and, with the tips of your fingers, crumble the butter into the flour. We're after pea-sized pieces of this mix so don't squish it too much. Now toss the sugar mix with the flour mix. Spoon the poached fruit into individual buttered soufflé moulds and sprinkle the crumble mix over the top. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes.

WINES TO MATCH
Toby's take on this classic is the business. The rhubarb in this dish is naturally bitter and is balanced perfectly by the sweetness of the crumble.

We've decided to opt for a sweet wine that has good intensity and richness in the mouth to compensate for the bitterness of the rhubarb and the texture of the crumble.

De Bortoli Noble One 1996 is made from late harvest semillon grapes and makes an awesome partner to this dish. It's reasonably weighty with super-ripe apricot and orange marmalade fruit character, amazing length and great structure.

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