Please Pass the Recipe

from one generation to the next

Perfect Roast Chicken

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It’s easy to take for granted that your blog followers share with you the same basic understanding of cooking but defining that “basic” is like interpreting “normal.” Shaped by experience, preferences, beliefs, family, and culture, everyone’s situation is unique.

A couple of weeks ago a reader asked if I had posted a recipe for roast chicken. Roasting meat is part of my Anglo Australian cooking heritage, an everyday technique you learn from your Mum, but then, thinking more deeply about the process, about the details that ensure roast chicken is always moist, tasty and cooked to the bone, I concluded it’s not so simple afterall.

Oven roasted chicken with all the trimmings was my Mum’s celebration meal. Before the mass battery hen industry lowered the price of a chicken to within reach of the average household, it was indulgent, it was extravagant and to me, it was the most delicious meal I could ever eat. As I entered my teens,  the prices of poultry plummeted and roast chicken become a regular on our dinner table.

As a family meal, roast chicken has come a full circle. I take a moral stand on the consumption of chicken and eggs. I always choose organic, by definition also free range, and ethically raised birds don’t come cheaply, so my roast chicken must be perfect. I want crisp golden skin, moist well flavoured breast meat and juicy thigh cooked to the bone.

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These are my tips and tricks:
1. For better flavour and more even cooking, choose a large chicken, 1.8kg – 2kg.
2. Remove the chicken from the fridge an hour before you intend to put it in the oven.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C.
4. To keep the breast moist, stuff the cavity with a simple seasoning of 2 cups of fresh breadcrumb, a tablespoon of dried herbs and the zest of a lemon, moistened only with water, about 1/4 cup.
5. Truss the chicken loosely so that the oven heat can easily penetrate the space between the thigh and the breast.
6. Rub the chicken skin all over with a slick of olive oil.
7. Put the chicken breast side up in the baking dish.
8. Bake the chicken on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes at 200C then reduce the heat to 180C.
9. Don’t use any tools that will pierce the chicken skin while the bird is cooking or resting, as the juices that have collected underneath the skin, keeping the meat moist will flow out.
10. Turn the tray, not the chicken.
11. Bake a 1.8kg chicken for 1 hour, 20minutes.
12. Remove the chicken from the oven and rest it in a warm place for 15-20 minutes before carving and serving

We enjoy the breasts for dinner when the chicken is fresh from the oven. In summer there is a never ending list of salads I prepare with leftover cold chicken, in winter I make chicken pot pie.

 

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

27 comments on “Perfect Roast Chicken

  1. Pingback: Perfectly crispy roasted pork belly | Please Pass the Recipe

  2. becca givens
    September 6, 2014

    Roast chicken is my favorite as well — but I have not perfected cooking it myself … I will try your method with the help of “dr google” with conversion tools for directions! I look forward to enjoying! 😀

    Like

  3. bakeritalia
    August 28, 2014

    I have to say, roast chicken is one of my favourite family meals too. I have a fwe ways I cook it but each time it always brings the family together, great post.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 28, 2014

      Thanks, I think a home roast chook is loved Australia wide!

      Like

  4. StefanGourmet
    August 28, 2014

    Interesting! When and how do you season with salt?

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 28, 2014

      There is absolutely no need with the organic chickens I use. The flavour is assertively that of poultry and salting the skin would just draw the juices from the breast meat. Add a few flakes at the table if you like…

      Like

      • StefanGourmet
        August 29, 2014

        Ah, interesting. Many recipes call for brining the chicken, but I don’t like that very much as it dilutes the flavor of the meat. I do like a bit of salt on the chicken to bring out the assertive poultry flavor even more, but it can indeed be added later. Salting the chicken many hours before roasting should also work. Perhaps I should do a side-by-side…

        Like

      • ladyredspecs
        August 29, 2014

        It would be really interesting to do a side by side Stefan. I look forward to that post.

        Like

  5. Fae's Twist & Tango
    August 27, 2014

    Not only perfect, but also gorgeous roast chicken!!!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 27, 2014

      Thanks Fae, it’s a sentimental favourite for me, never an effort and a much anticipated meal…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Saskia (1=2)
    August 27, 2014

    Oh my, that chook looks cooked to perfection, as do your roast veggies. Haven’t roasted a chook in a very long time. Keen to give your method a try as I usually stuff a great wad of butter under the skin. Olive oil sounds much healthier, and the skin looks perfectly crispy!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 27, 2014

      Crisp skin is mandatory IMO. After years of chucking a lemon into the cavity, I’ve become dedicated to wet bread stuffing. It really does help keep the breast meat moist.

      Like

  7. Stacey Bender
    August 27, 2014

    This is well written. I never truss my chicken; perhaps I will try next time, thanks.

    Like

  8. cheergerm
    August 26, 2014

    Beautiful! Amen to the ethically raised chicken….it does put the onus on making it darned near perfect though. I roast mine similarly but I stuff the cavity with lemon wedges, whole garlic cloves and parsley stalks (or other various herbs depending). I also stuff some butter under the skin breast. Great post.

    Like

  9. Francesca
    August 26, 2014

    When I was young, a roast chicken was a thing to have at Christmas. One of our backyard hens was dispatched, then my grandmother would do the plucking, then it was hung- usually outside my bedroom window- to drain for a while. It tasted heavenly. Chicken no longer tastes heavenly- unless the bird is sourced carefully and this is costly for most families. Better to have no chicken than crap chicken.
    Very good notes re roasting chicken. I usually shove a cut lemon and a bunch of herbs in the cavity.Trussing is very important too, as you point out.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 26, 2014

      I remember the rare chicken meal at Christmas too Francesca, and I loved it so much I always chose it as my birthday dinner as well. I agree wholeheartedly, no crap chicken for me thanks!

      Like

  10. nancy@jamjnr
    August 26, 2014

    Our favourite meal is a simple roast chicken and when I can I try to source ethically grown because sadly enough you really can taste the difference. I really should stuff the bird to give us something else to fight over bedsides the crispy skin and the oysters.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 26, 2014

      I love crispy chicken wings, but M doesn’t like to suck on bones so we have no argument over our favourite bits. Spot on about the superior flavour of an ethically raised bird!

      Like

  11. vannillarock
    August 26, 2014

    You are so right on this one. The wordpress community is really worldwide and as a food blogger you learn to assume nothing! I stuff a lemon, quartered, into the cavity. Nice post.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 26, 2014

      Thanks Ms V. Blogging is wonderful insight into kitchens worldwide…

      Like

  12. My Kitchen Witch
    August 26, 2014

    Wow! Almost exactly how I roast my chicken – except I insert a cut lemon and some herbs (rosemary or tarragon) in the cavity and slick lemon infused olive oil on the skin. We also make chicken pot pie (and chicken jambalaya, risotto or farrotto, salads, etc.) with the leftovers and the carcass produces a lovely stock. You are so right – what one takes as “normal” in the kitchen is actually an unique product of our experiences, both personal and cultural.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      August 26, 2014

      Ah, lemon oil on the skin that’s a great idea! I’ve found blogging, like travel offers a huge broadening of ideas. There are many Australians including pollies who should do with a little of both to open their minds to the wider world!

      Like

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This entry was posted on August 26, 2014 by in Chicken dishes, FODMAP diet, Food, Gluten Free, Main Meals and tagged , , , .
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