I’d heard about this recipe a while back and then was continually tagged in videos of them recently! Welcome to watermelon chicken, that is cooking a whole chicken inside a watermelon. It’s supposed to make it moist and tender and create it’s own gravy, so lets put it to the test!
First up pre-heat your oven to 170fan / 190c. Make the rub by mixing together all the rub ingredients in a ramekin.
Placing the watermelon on it’s side, slice off a lid to expose some of the watermelon flesh. This will be put back on during baking like a little hat! Scoop out the pink watermelon inside and place in a bowl, keep in the fridge to eat another day! Don’t scrape all the watermelon out, leave some small traces inside attached to the skin and bottom.
Rub the chicken all over and inside if you wish with the rub made earlier. Stuff some extra herbs, and the unchopped onion half inside the chicken. Lift into the watermelon and make sure it is sat in there snug. With the chicken inside the watermelon add in the lemon peel, chopped garlic, chopped onion and the wine.
Soak some bamboo skewers in water and attach the lid of the watermelon to the top to help steam the chicken during baking and keep the juices inside. Now place the watermelon onto a high ridged roasting tin and bake for 3-3 1/2 hours. The watermelon will be super squidgy like an overcooked aubergine but it will hold all the flavours in place and ultimately should have cooked your chicken. To check, take off the lid and pierce the chicken, if the juices run clear you are all good.
Remove the chicken from the watermelon onto a board, cover with foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile make the gravy. All the juices from the watermelon can be left in the roasting tray you cooked the chicken in. Warm it over a hob, adding in the flour and stir together as it bubbles and goes thicker, keep stirring to make it smooth. Add in the stock and simmer gently, you can add more wine here if you wish.
Once nice and warmed and thickened to your liking (add more flour if you want thicker, more water if you want thinner) bearing in mind it will thicken as it cools a little. Pour the gravy through a sieve to make it smooth and serve it with the watermelon chicken! Amazingly delicious. This really did surprise me!