Roast chicken is one of those staple meals that everyone should know how to make. When I was growing up, my parents and I used to love getting rotisserie chicken every once in a while and it felt like such a treat! That distinct roast chicken flavour with the crispy skin and those beautiful juices at the bottom… if you know what I’m talking about then it’s very likely that your mouth is watering too.
Chicken is such a versatile meat, but to be honest I got so sick of it during my medschool years that I just didn’t want to ever see it on my plate! I still go in waves about this actually – it’s something that we eat so often that I just get so bored of it and I don’t know how to make it anymore. When this happens to me I always go back to making a beautifully golden roast chicken and every single time it helps. It never fails! Always delicious, with a crispy skin and yummy juices. Plus the potatoes – obviously.
So there are a few tips and tricks that will hopefully help you make the best roast chicken ever and also once you master it you can apply most of these tricks to any other bird – like a Thanksgiving turkey! (I know I’m not American but hey – any excuse to eat delicious food!). I will share a recipe on that later on.
First things first:
- Get your chicken out of the fridge so it comes to room temperature – about an hour or so is about right, but a few hours won’t do it any harm either!
- Take the butter out of the fridge to soften up – I usually do this at the same time as the chicken
- Preheat your oven to 200C
- Whole chicken – I used a 2kg free-range chicken
- 100g butter
- Potatoes – as many as you like, I used 1kg
- Onions – I used 2
- Garlic – as many or as few cloves as you lik
- Rosemary – few sprigs
- Dried herbs and seasoning (read below)
- 1 cup chicken stock (or stock cube)
- 1 cup white wine
- Prepare your butter – take the softened butter and mix in whatever herbs and seasoning you like – I like to add salt, pepper, garlic powder, mixed Italian herbs and onion powder but I change my seasonings depending on how I’m feeling.
- Cut up your potatoes and onions and place them on a large roasting tray with your garlic and rosemary. Drizzle some oil, salt and pepper and mix them up until they’re evenly seasoned.
- Make a little pocket under the skin of your chicken. Do not skip this step!! Might seem a bit gross but honestly it makes all the difference. Just near the opening separate the skin from the meat with your fingers and extend that opening through as much of the breast as you can.
- With a small spoon, put the butter in those pockets you’ve just created and spread it with your hands. Make sure to also get onto the leg creases!
- Once you’ve put the butter under the skin, rub the rest of it all over the chicken.
- Place your chicken either on a roasting rack like I have here, or directly on top of your potatoes and onions. Either way would work!
- Sprinkle a small amount of salt and pepper over your chicken and drizzle a bit of olive oil to maximize crispiness
- Place your tray in the oven and roast for about 30-45min (about halfway through cooking). Then take it out and pour your chicken stock and white wine all over your chicken and potatoes mixture. Put it back in the oven and roast for another 45min or until it’s fully cooked through.
- Lots of nice pictures online (and well-known chefs) will show you trussed chicken – that’s using twine to tie up the chicken so that the ends don’t burn and it all cooks evenly – but honestly for normal everyday home cooks I don’t think there’s a point in doing that. If you just leave it all loose, tuck the wings underneath and let the legs hang where they want to, it all cooks pretty evenly anyways. Plus you get lots of crispy skin!
- If your oven heats up unevenly I’d suggest turning the chicken when you get it back in the oven halfway through cooking so it cooks evenly.
- I don’t tend to use a meat thermometer very often but if you want to use it you should place it in the thickest part of your chicken, making sure to not be touching bone. When it reaches 73C it’s all good to eat.
- If you don’t have a meat thermometer don’t worry! When you think it’s done, pull the leg away from the body and make a little incision in that leg meat. If the juices come out clear and the meat looks opaque, it’s fully cooked. If there’s any remnants of pink in either the meat or the juices, pop it back in the oven for about 10-15min and test again on the other side.
- As a general rule, for a 2kg chicken cooked at 200C it takes it about 1h 20-30min to cook through.
- Let the chicken rest when it comes out of the oven! Like when you cook any kind of meat, don’t cut into it as soon as it’s cooked. Let it sit for about 10-15min and then you can carve it. Don’t lose those precious juices by cutting into it too soon!
- You can change up the veggies if you’re not that into potatoes (is that even a thing?!) or if you want to cut down carbs a bit. I’d suggest using things like carrots, parsnips, celeriac and sweet potatoes. Basically choose something hearty that will be fine in the oven for a long time.
And that’s it! It takes a bit of prepping but you can feed a crowd (or meal prep for the week) with very little effort! I love recipes where you don’t have to be standing over the stove for hours, particularly on weekdays or for dinner parties – it’s so much more convenient! These proportions will feed 4 people happily without any other sides but if you want to feed more people I’d suggest you give my husband’s favorite salad a try as a light but filling side! Also you can use a larger amount of potatoes or other veggies and a bigger bird if you’re feeding more.
I hope that you found this recipe helpful and that you give it a try – would love to hear your thoughts on it! Thanks for reading me and see you again soon!!