You can’t beat a roast chook as far as I’m concerned. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, there are a handful of other foods that do sit alongside the humble chicken but when it comes to something simple and delicious, it’s chicken all the way.
Above and beyond the taste factor, is the fact that your average chook just keeps on giving. I’m talking dinner the night its cooked, leftovers for salad or sandwiches the next day and a decent horde of bones and carcass that are just begging to be turned into stock. You literally don’t have to waste a single scrap.
Up until maybe 12 months ago, I was a little afraid of tackling a chook. Words like ‘cavity’ freaked me out and the whole ‘trying legs together’ thing was confusing. Once I bit the bullet though, I realised that I’d been a bit of an idiot. Cooking a roast chicken is stupidly simple and, like many of my favourite dishes, a complete ‘prep, bung in the oven, leave’ job.
It’s taken a bit of tinkering and many Sunday night roasts but I think I’ve finally cracked the secret combination of ingredients needed to create stupidly tender meat and amazingly crispy skin. The skin has always given me the most grief in the past as it never got quite crispy enough but alas I seem to be rectified this problem
A few things to note before you dive straight in. I always think that the better the quality of chicken you choose, the better the end result. I always buy free range at the very least and try and keep my eyes open for organic free range chickens when they’re on sale at my supermarket or local butcher.
There are loads of different ways to stuff a chook and probably the same number of ways to baste. I usually stick to something simple with ingredients I always have at hand but feel free to tweak this to your own tastes.
- 1 Free Range Chicken
- 1.5 lemons
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp cornflour
- 3 tsp sea salt
- On the morning you plan to cook your chook (or at least a few hours before), remove the chicken from its packaging and pop it on top of some kitchen paper. Layer more kitchen paper over the top and either put back in the fridge or leave on the bench (depending on when you’re planning on cooking). The drier the chicken, the crispier the skin will end up.
- Preheat your oven to 200C.
- Cut one of the lemons in half and shove into the cavity of the chicken.
- Add 3 or 4 of the garlic cloves to the cavity.
- Tie the legs of the chicken together with kitchen string.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter.
- Add the juice from the remaining lemon and a pinch of sea salt.
- Rub the butter mixture all over the chicken, really working it into the skin.
- Combine corn flour and remaining salt.
- Pour salt mixture over the chicken and massage in well.
- Place in a baking tray (I usually par boil my veggies and add them about 15 minutes after I’ve put the chicken in the oven)
- Pop into the oven and roast for between 1 hour and 1 hour 15 minutes. You’ll know your chicken is ready when stick a skewer into the flesh and it runs clear.