Roasting a chicken perfectly is not hard, it just takes some patience and following a few tips.
By Hein van Tonder
I believe there are few meals that can beat the simple goodness of a roast chicken and as we head into the festive season I prefer a delicious roast chicken to all the drama involved with turkey or duck or turducken (if you really have to go that way!).
Letting the chicken stand seasoned and uncovered definitely makes a difference. So does roasting it at the very high temperature. The meat is juicy and flavourful, with the skin super crispy. It does take a bit of pre planning of course which is not always possible but I urge you to try it.
I can not remember where I read the tip about rather using the zest of a lemon rather than a whole lemon inside the cavity. It makes sense as you keep all the aromatic oils to infuse the chicken with no chance of any bitterness coming through from the the pith and juice. I feel all cheffy when I tie the legs together and I think it does improve the appearance of the roasted bird.
I have an array of festive recipes to inspire and help you plan for the season ahead – click here for all the recipes
- 1 1.5kg (1.1 pounds) whole chicken, patted dry
- 2 ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp crushed black pepper
- Small bunch mixed herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and sage
- zest of 1 lemon (use a vegetable peeler)
- Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper
- Refrigerate the chicken uncovered, overnight
- Heat oven to 230 degrees C
- Place chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan and stuff the cavity with the herbs and lemon zest
- Tie the legs together with kitchen string and roast 50 minutes, then baste chicken with the pan juices
- Continue roasting until chicken's juices run clear when skin is pierced with a knife (about 5 to 10 minutes longer
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving