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.
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
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.