With crisp buttery skin and delicate moist flesh a perfectly roasted chicken is without doubt one of the wonders of the food world. But how can you ensure your roast chicken reaches the realms of perfection? The answer is simple. Take care of it.
Here is how:
- Buy a good quality chicken.
- Remove the wishbone
This makes carving so much easier, giving you even slices of breast.
- Rub the skin with olive oil and season with plenty of salt & pepper.
This will permeate through the flesh as you baste during the cooking. The salt will also help to dry out the skin, making it crispy.
- Put a few aromatic flavours in the cavity.
The flavour will be released as it cooks and run into the pan juices. It will then flavour the bird as you baste and flavour the gravy. I suggest 2 smashed cloves of garlic, half an onion, a large sprig of thyme. Don’t over-fill the cavity as you want the heat to reach the inside
- Pre-heat the (fan) oven to 220C but turn down to 180C as soon as you put the chicken in the oven.
This will turn the skin a golden brown without drying out the flesh. An oven thermometer is a useful investment, as internal oven temperatures can vary a little from what the dial reads.
- Baste every 20 minutes.
This will ensure the seasoning & aromatic flavours permeate throughout the bird and help to keep it moist.
- Time it accurately.
There is no need to overcook chicken “just to be on the safe side”. Just check the weight and time it. 20 minutes and then a further 20 minutes for each 500g. So a 1.25kg bird should be roasted for 70 minutes.
- Rest it for 20 minutes.
Resting is as important as cooking; the residual heat continues to permeate through to the centre of the bird and the juices are redistributed as the flesh relaxes.
Follow these simple rules and your roast chicken will never taste the same again.