The perfect roast chicken

The perfect roast chicken

By
From
Meat
Serves
6
Photographer
Dean Cambray

More often than not this is the way I roast a chook, with a lovely herby butter stuff ed beneath the skin, to keep the breast meat moist – to my mind the wings that go stickily crunchy and golden are the best bits. I serve it with chunky-cut roasted vegetables and a simple sauce made from the pan juices.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2.4kg free-range chicken
Herby butter
1/2 lemon
1/2 onion
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup parsley leaves
4 sprigs thyme
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Wipe the cavity of the chicken with paper towel and trim away any excess fat.
  2. Hold the chicken firmly with one hand, and with the other, carefully insert your fingers under the skin that covers the breast meat. Gradually ease the skin away from each of the two chicken breasts to form a gap, being very careful not to tear the skin. Take knobs of the herby butter and gently ease it into the gap, as far in as you can, until it covers most of the breasts. Now pull the skin of the chicken breast gently forward, so that all of the meat is covered.
  3. Stuff the lemon, onion, garlic and herbs inside the chicken’s cavity and season with salt and pepper. Tie the chicken legs to the parson’s nose as firmly as possible, then place it on a rack inside a large roasting tin. Use your hands to rub the olive oil into the skin of the chicken and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the chicken in the centre of the oven for 1¼–1¾ hours, although this is more of a guideline really; the actual cooking time will vary depending on your oven. Every 20 minutes or so during roasting, remove the chicken from the oven (not forgetting to close the oven door, to maintain the cooking temperature) and tip the roasting tin on an angle, so that the buttery juices pool in the corner. Baste the chicken all over with these juices, being a little careful, as the hot fat may sizzle and spit.
  5. The chicken is cooked when the internal core temperature reaches 72ºC. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, insert a fork into the chicken’s cavity and lift the bird up. Tilt it downwards and if the juices run clear the bird is cooked; if they’re pink, then it needs more cooking.
  6. Transfer the cooked chicken to a hot dish and leave it to rest for 15 minutes in a warm spot. To serve, use kitchen scissors to cut the bird into portions on the bone. To be honest, I’ll do this any time, rather than carving it up into neat slices. Chicken tastes so much better when you can pick it up in your fingers and really get stuck in.
Tags:
Meat
Adrian
Richardson
La
Luna
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