I have seen them selling ready prepared chickens in Tesco with flavours like garlic and herb, in a bag ready to roast in the oven. I have always been a bit suspicious of cooking in a plastic bag in the oven, thinking that this would result in a plastic-tasting chicken.
Anyway, a few weeks ago my girlfriend came home from work with a roll of roasting plastic in a tube which you cut off the required length, knot one end, and put the meat in, tie the other end and roast like that. I finally got round to giving it a go today whilst my mum was staying. I always think its not worth cooking a big roast dinner for just the two of us at home.
I did a search on the net but could not find that much about roasting bags, but this site called the Cottage Smallholder had some information on cooking chicken in a roasting bag.
This was quite an experiment for me! I followed roughly what they had done at the Cottage Smallholder and first sprayed cooking oil into the bag, then a dusting of flour, salt and pepper. I then squeezed lemon juice over the chicken, a bit of lemon zest, salt, pepper and thyme went next. I put about half the lemon inside the chicken, then roughly chopped up the other half and put that in the bag. Finally, I put the chicken itself into the bag, and tied it up with a knot.
Into the oven at 220C, for 1 hour 10 minutes (this chicken was 1.4 kg). This is the chicken about half an hour into cooking -
It was not completely air tight, as I could smell the chicken and lemon, however you can see the bag swelling with all the steam and lovely chicken, lemon and thyme flavours and aromas. I suppose its a kind of steamed roasted chicken.
After and hour and ten minutes I took the bag off, keeping the juices for gravy which was quite thick already what with the flour on the bag. I returned the chicken to the oven to brown the top off a bit. About 10 or 15 minutes in a high oven was sufficient.
The juices I poured into a pan, added a stock cube, a glass of white wine, a couple of bay leaves and some whole garlic cloves, squashed under a knife to release the flavours. The cooking water from the veg was added, and then left to boil for about 15 minutes.
Now to carve the chicken - and at this stage its looking (and tasting) very moist!
Finally served the whole lot up with some mashed potato, fresh vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and the gravy (presentation is not the best here, I admit that, but its a roast dinner and that's what they always look like in my house).
The chicken was very moist and tasty! I think I will be using these bags again. I don't think the lemon flavour came through in the meat itself, although maybe it did help with keeping the chicken moist.