Roast chicken

You could probably get through life without knowing how to roast a chicken, but the question is, would you want to? Nigella Lawson

Many cooks have written about the joys of roast chicken, and I don’t know if I can add anything particularly poetic to what has already been written. However, there is something spookily energy-produced-from-nowhere about the roast chicken equation – a minimal culinary effort that delivers a vast beneficial effect to stomach and mind. And, I don’t know about you, but seeing my man carve up a bird and pass me a burnished leg makes me go weak at my unreconstructed knees.

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One chicken to roast – the more free range, organically fed and happy it was, the more virtuous you will feel and the better it will taste
A good handful of fresh robust herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme
An onion
Butter and olive oil
Salt and pepper

When you get the chicken home, remember to note how much it weighs, so you can calculate cooking times in advance. For the scatterbrained and/or geeky (I’ve got two hands up) this means you can write a schedule and include any other vegetables or pudding you’re cooking alongside.

You need to cook it at 200°C for 20 mins for every 500g, plus an additional 30 minutes on top whatever the weight. After it comes out of the oven it needs to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.

Well before you even preheat the oven, take the chicken out of the fridge so it can get to room temperature. Wash it inside and out, removing the giblets to keep them for other dishes, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place in a roasting dish, remembering to choose one big enough to fit in any vegetables you’re going to roast along with the chicken. Stick half an onion up its bum (I can’t help silently apologising at this stage) together with the herbs. Put little bits of butter all over the outside of the chicken, rubbing them in a bit if the butter’s cold, and give a good grinding of salt and pepper all over. Put a good tablespoon of olive oil in the pan too. Then roast, remove, rest and, most importantly, allow the man of the house to carve.

For root vegetables cooked with the chicken, cut them into fairly small pieces and bung them in the pan for the last 40 minutes cooking time.

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2 Comments

Filed under Chicken, Recipe

2 responses to “Roast chicken

  1. You’re exactly right about the wonderful, simple power of a roasted chicken. Partly, I think, it’s the incredible aroma that fills the kitchen and spreads throughout the house as the bird roasts. That and the golden beauty of the finished product brought to the table.

    To enhance that burnished finish, as you so poetically put it, I try to baste the bird a few times as it roasts with the molten butter and juices from the pan.

  2. Terry, it’s so true – if I didn’t know what undercooked chicken can do to your insides, I swear I’d have to put a padlock on the oven… And you’re right about basting, although hot fat does freak me out. I need to go buy some silicon gloves from Lakeland.

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