Saturday, 7 August 2010

New Kitchen Toy - Halogen Oven

This alien looking unit is our new kitchen gadget - a halogen oven

Hubbs came home yesterday bearing gifts - well new kitchen toys!  We've talked about getting a Halogen oven - which is basically an extremely large glass bowl with a powerful halogen heat source in the lid unit.  I'm not sure why this came about but our toaster has recently gone kaput after 4-5 years.  One of the heating elements on the toaster wall has broken so it no longer works.  Doesn't bother me as the grill toasts my morning bread quickly.  Hubbs likes to use the toaster bag and pops a sausage roll or samosa in the toaster to warm up.  We also have  a George Foreman grill - well it was hubbs way of cooking dinner before he met me.  George is a bit unreliable and has a dodgy power lead which sometimes turns him off.  His non-stick plates are also wearing out in places too.  Hence, we've talked about a halogen oven.  They are supposed to be quite energy efficient and also very quick to cook food.  I think it's similar to a fan oven in the sense that hot air is blown around the glass bowl cooking the food.  That is why things are placed on the racks provided to ensure heat and air circulation.

So, we gave the strange spaceship contraption it's first trial tonight.  We decided to buy a chicken to roast for dinner.  According to the instruction manual, a 1.6kg chicken will take 40 minutes to cook at 200 deg C. 

Following the instructions I pre-heated the oven and placed my chicken on the lower rack and pit some potatoes around the meat.  Listening to advice on websites from other halogen oven users I added a cup of water to the glass bowl.  That way any fats and cooking juices don't burn and stick to the bowl making washing a nightmare.

It emits a very bright light when it's cooking

Our chicken was 1.3kg so I started the timer for 30 minutes.  The strange thing about the halogen oven is that it will switch itself off for a second every now and again when it reaches optimum temperature before turning itself back on again.  I was beginning to think the chicken would never cook! 

When 30 minutes was up the chicken was a pale golden brown.  It doesn't say to flip the chicken over but I did anyway to see if the underside was cooked.  It looked rather anaemic and raw to say the least.  I drained the pink juices from the cavity, placed the chicken breast side down and cooked for a further 10 minutes. 

It was a beautiful golden brown and I gave it several pokes with a skewer before deciding it was definitely cooked.  Looked good and smelt it too!

The cooked chicken - doesn't look too bad

The roast potatoes however, were looking pretty insipid.  I changed to the taller rack (I figured the reason why the potatoes and chicken probably didn't cook that well was it was too near the bottom of the glass bowl.  With the water on the bottom it probably prevent much air and heat to circulate around the food.) and put the potatoes back in for a further 10 minutes.  They turned out a lovely brown colour.

These looked super crunchy!

The result?  The chicken was just cooked and so deliciously moist!  The bones on the carcass look a bit pink but as I'm not chewing those I don't mind!  The breast meat was so tender and juicy!  Delicious!  I struggle to recall when I last had chicken that tasty!  I will definitely cook it this way again but on the higher rack and it will be interesting to see if the chicken needs flipping over to cook the back.  The potatoes looked good but weren't crispy crunchy as a proper roast potato.  They were soft and fluffy - "Like baked potatoes." commented hubbs.  I think they had too much of a steaming having spent 30 minutes millimetres away from the water.  Maybe I could cook them on a tray with a drizzle of oil next time?

Roast chicken dinner with tenderstem broccoli and roast potatoes

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