We live in an affluent era marked by an increasingly fraught relationship to food, and meat is arguably the most controversial ingredient. The Ethical Omnivore explores the solution: living with a conscience; asking the right questions of whoever sells you meat or of the labels you read; and learning how to respect the animal so much that you’re willing to cook something other than chicken breast . . .
Katie Swift started her food career in the late 1970s, as a cadet journalist in the test kitchen of Woman’s Day magazine, under the excellent guidance of cooking legend Margaret Fulton.
“I went on to have a catering business in the 1980s, and after a long stint as a magazine food editor I now make Katie Swift Cordials for cafes, restaurants and bars. I am very proud to have my cordial at Feather and Bone.
“I believe it is imperative to know where one’s meat has come from, and that it has been sustainably produced and the animal humanely treated. This chicken recipe is based on one published by Karen Martini about a decade or so ago. I love all the flavours and it has become a strong favourite at family lunches.”
80g raw almonds
1 large (about 2kg) pasture-raised chicken
3 tablespoons olive oil
1–2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon Herbie’s Spices ras-el-hanout or other high-quality Moroccan spice blend
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 handfuls coriander (cilantro) leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons Bitton Orange Jelly, or your favourite bitter orange marmalade
50g (1 cup firmly packed) coarsely chopped mint
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
75g coarsely chopped preserved lemon rind
• Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Place almonds on a baking tray and toast for 5 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and coarsely chop.
• Dry chicken inside and out with paper towel, and place on a wire rack set in a roasting tin. Combine olive oil, garlic, ras-el- hanout, orange blossom water, pomegranate molasses, lemon zest, half the lemon juice and half the coriander.
• Rub chicken all over with oil and spice mix, place in oven and roast, basting twice, for 1 hour–1 hour 15 minutes or until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a skewer. Remove chicken from oven, transfer to a plate to rest, and pour roasting juices into a saucepan.
• Add orange jelly to juices in pan, place over medium heat, and cook for 5–10 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from heat and add remaining lemon juice.
• Carve chicken into pieces and arrange on serving platter. Pour orange sauce over chicken, then scatter with almonds, currants, mint, remaining coriander, pomegranate seeds and preserved lemon. Serve with couscous, brown rice or crispy potatoes and a salad of mixed leaves.
• Feeds: 4–6
• Preparation time: 10 minutes
• Cooking time: 1½ hours.