I’m going to try and make this post simple for you. Google how to cook the perfect roast chicken and you get SO much conflicting advice. Good Food says one thing, Delia says another. Looking for something a bit more scientific? Heston Blumenthal has you covered (warning: you’ll need a meat thermometer and brine)! But does it really have to be that difficult?
When it comes to cooking a roast chicken I use some simple principles and manage to get a moist (but most importantly cooked) chicken every time. It’s full of flavour and tastes great. Read on to find out how to cook the perfect Herby Roast Chicken!
I’ve been told an average-size chicken weighs about 1.5kg and will feed 4 people. But let’s be honest, whether or not a chicken is going to feed your family depends on how greedy they are!
I usually cook for 5 or 6 people and always opt for a 2kg bird. There may be leftovers but they’re perfect for sandwiches, salads or chicken supreme!
Make sure you buy the best chicken you can get – that does mean free-range and organic. We don’t want any guilt with our dinner, nor any chemical nasties. If you opt for a corn-fed chicken you’ll be getting a more fatty bird. We’re going to be smothering this thing in butter and a little oil so no need to hunt a corn fed chicken down if they don’t do them in your local supermarket.
People get really worried about knowing when a chicken is done. You don’t want a dry chicken but you also don’t want food poisoning…here it can come in handy to have a meat thermometer to hand. The chicken is cooked when a digital meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 65-70C.
If you don’t have a thermometer then you can opt for the traditional method of checking. Simply insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh, if it comes out piping hot when touched to the back of your wrist and the juices run clear your chicken is done!
No I’m not talking about you! I’m talking about the chicken!
People often skip this crucial part but for the best results you need to let your chicken rest. This will ensure you have perfectly moist, tender meat. Leave it for a minimum of 15 minutes (uncovered is fine, but pop on some tin foil if it’s going to be left somewhere drafty) or for up to 30 minutes.
I promise you the chicken won’t go cold! In fact it will initially continue to get hotter despite being out of the oven. Sounds strange but trust me it’s true.
This all sounds simple stuff, and really it is but apply these simple principles to my recipe below and you will have one tasty bird. Lemon, herbs, garlic and butter are the perfect addition to chicken. Don’t skimp on the flavour or the fat, you’ll thank me later.
- 1 chicken (1.5kg)
- 1 lemon
- 5 cloves of garlic (skin left on)
- Small bunch of fresh rosemary and thyme
- 150g butter mixed with 2 tbsp. Italian dried herb mix
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat your oven to 200C (180C for fan assisted ovens) or Gas Mark 6.
- Place the chicken into a roasting tin (preferably on top of lots of lovely root veggies) and untruss (cut the strings off) the bird.
- Stuff the cavity of the bird with a lemon that has been cut into two halves, the garlic cloves and a handful of fresh rosemary and thyme.
- Next, find where the skin has slightly pulled away from the breast meet (near where the cavity opens up) and run your hands underneath the skin, over the top of the bird. Do this gently so as not to tear the skin.
- Stuff the pocket you've created with the butter.
- Rub the skin with a little olive oil and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 25 minutes before turning the oven down to 170C (150C fan assisted) or Gas 3½ and cook for a further 40-55 minutes depending on size.
- Once the bird is cooked through (see notes) leave to rest in the roasting tin for 15 minutes (the perfect amount of time to make your gravy) before serving.
Got a chicken that weighs more or less than 1.5kg? Cook it for 25 minutes for every 500g, plus an extra 30 minutes.
See, I told you it was easy!
You’ll need a couple of side dishes to go with your chicken but don’t worry my fellow bloggers have you covered! Why not pick a couple from the list below.
- Garlic Chive Mash from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
- Polenta Roast Potatoes from Lovely Appetite
- Roasted Carrots with Orange and Ginger from Family Friends Food
- One of three variations on Dauphinoise from Kavey Eats
- Braised Red Cabbage from Tin and Thyme
- Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables from Fab Food 4 All
- Garlic and Rosemary Scalloped Potato Roast also from Family Friends Food
- Gluten Free Cauliflower Cheese from Natural Kitchen Adventures
- Crispy Coated Roast Potatoes also from Fab Food 4 All
- (My favourite) Yorkshire Puddings from Utterly Scrummy
- Or why not go with Greek Salad for a Mediterranean twist!
And for afters…
- It’s got to be Apple Pie with Pecans, Bourbon and Maple Sauce don’t forget the ice cram!