I was reading an article written by a food blogger about what she had decided were the most annoying things that other food bloggers and recipe writers do. One of the things she asked us all to do was to stop posting recipes for Roast Chicken. She said that if your readers didn’t know how to do that, then there’s not much hope for them. I didn’t like the comment or the tone. It wasn’t so many years ago that I didn’t know how to roast a chicken. I didn’t consider myself hopeless, but I was just lacking in knowledge. I understand all to well what it’s like to be a beginner cook, when everything seems overwhelming. The thing is about roasting a chicken, it is easy, but like so many things in life, if you don’t know how, then it might as well be rocket science. You don’t know what you don’t know – right? The other thing is about roast chicken, for me anyway, was that the result looked and tasted so fantastic that I thought there must be some kind of complicated technique to achieve this. It is a really simple process, and many cooks and chefs play around with it, trying to make it better. That’s not my thing, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. My method is simple, and I get a fantastic result every time. So if you’ve never tried it before or if you have been bamboozled by overcomplicated recipes, start here.
And then go to my recipe for Chicken Stock.
Perfect Roast Chicken
This really begins with the quality of the chicken you buy. The things I look for are:-
- A chicken that doesn’t look as if it has been pumped up with a bicycle pump.
- A proportioned bird, not one with a huge breast section and tiny legs.
- Some small fat deposits under the skin.
- On feeling the skin it feels a bit lose – there is some movement – its not tight.
- A good poultry shop.
- Free range is a good indicator of quality.
To Cook the Chicken
1 x good quality chicken ( a bird of about 1.5kg will give you 4 good portions)
Salt and Pepper to taste
One lemon (optional)
One large onion
A little olive oil (about 2 x dessert spoons)
5 or 6 sprigs of each Rosemary and thyme (optional)
- Use a roasting tin that can comfortably hold the bird.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
- Cut a large onion into 5 thick, equal rings, place them in a 2, 2, 1 formation in the roasting tin.
- Cut the lemon into 4 wedges and place this inside the chicken along with Rosemary and thyme.
- Place the chicken on top of the onion slices.
- Rub the oil onto the palm of your hands and then rub it over the chicken.
- Sprinkle with Salt and pepper.
- Add water to the roasting tin, just out of the tap. Enough to take the water level up to the top of the slices of onion.
- Place the chicken in the oven for about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Check after about 50 minutes. When it’s an even golden brown, take the chicken out.
- To test if it is cooked through take a slim knife or a skewer and press it into the place where the leg joins the body. If the juice that comes out is clear and you see no pink flesh, the chicken is ready. If you do see traces of pink, put back and check again after 10 to 15 minutes, repeating this until there is no trace of pink or red.
Cooking time may vary depending on your oven and the size of the bird. You may also see that one side of the chicken cooks quicker than the other. This is due to hotspots in the oven, so all you need to do is turn it around.