1.5kg fresh chicken
4 tblsp cooking oil
2 cloves garlic
Salt and black pepper
Sprigs green herbs such as mint, basil, thyme
100ml water (or leftover wine!)
Prep to Cook: Chopping board, roasting tray, foil piece to fit roasting tray, veg knife
Prep: Prep the flavours:
Slice the lemon into half
Peel two fat cloves of garlic
Rinse the herbs under the tap
Peel and slice the onion into about 5 thick slices. Push the slices into onion rings and put these into the roasting tin as a bed for the chicken.
Prep the chicken:
Unwrap the chicken and place on the onion bed in the roasting tin
Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the green herbs over the top of the carcass
Push the garlic cloves in between the legs and the carcass
Push the lemon halves into the cavity of the bird
Put the chicken in the roasting tin
Add 100ml water (or leftover wine) this will turn to steam and help to keep the chicken meat juicy as it roasts.
Cover with foil, not tight but ballooned over the chicken and sealed to the tray edges
Cook in pre-heated oven 2000C or Gas Mark 6.
Leave for 45 minutes then remove the foil, spoon the juices over the chicken to moisten it (baste the chicken) and cook for a further 45 minutes until golden brown and smelling gorgeous. Make sure you note the timing of the cooking as it is NOT safe to eat undercooked chicken.
Prep to eat:
Remove from the oven and place chicken onto a large plate
Tip juices into a jug and keep the juices to make gravy
Allow the chicken to stand for 15 minutes cover with foil that was removed earlier
Slice the breast meat and remove the legs
Cut the wings and poke around the carcass for further meaty portions
Retain the carcass for making soup (store in the fridge wrapped in foil)
Roasted chicken is a classic. It never fails to please. Juicy white meat with golden crisp skin and a wonderful smell makes it worth including regularly in your cooking repertoire.
A small turkey can be treated the same way as a chicken. Always look at the weight of a bird and allow 40 mins per Kg and 20 minutes more. Roasted chicken or turkey can be good value for money if they are bought when they are on offer. A small chicken usually supplies about 500g meat and therefore it is reasonable value and even better value if you use the carcass for making soup. You can freeze the whole fresh chicken and thaw it later for use when you want it. Cook it when it is fully thawed. Leave it in the fridge to thaw for at least a day. It is essential the starting point of the cooking is fridge temperature and not freezer temperature. The end point of cooking must be over 72 C to make sure it is really safe to eat.
Cooks Know How: Roasting is a hot method of cooking. It is usually used for meat, potatoes or vegetables. Roasting is traditional way of cooking and uses some sort of fat or oil to lubricate and moisten the product. You will need a roasting tin bigger than the chicken by about the width of a spoon so that you can spoon over the cooking juices about half way through the cooking time. This is known as basting the chicken.
You will be proud of yourself if you handle a whole raw chicken and roast it to perfection. You will notice the way removing the foil half way allows the chicken skin to turn golden brown and leaves the meat juicy and tender. You will be concerned that the chicken is well cooked and therefore you should write down the time you put it in the oven and note down when it should have the foil removed and when it will be cooked. You will probably want to have the chicken meat as the main course meat but you may at some stage cook a chicken to get the meat off the bone and save it for use in sauce such as coronation sauce to make a main cold dish. Don’t worry if you resort to pulling the meat off the bone with your fingers rather than with a carving knife, to be honest your fingers are more effective when you want chicken pieces rather than slices. A small chicken give about 500g meat and the cooked meat can be easy to use for sandwiches and salads over a week. It is quite good value for money and very good value if you make soup from the chicken carcass.
If you want to think about making the most of the oven space and make it easy to complete a meal try the following: In another roasting tray place peeled carrots that have been cut in half lengthwise to make them thinner. Do the same with peeled parsnips and quarters of medium sized onions. Add small peeled potatoes also cut in half. Drizzle these vegetables with oil and sprinkle with sea salt crystals. Pop this tray into the oven after the chicken has been in for half an hour and let the veg cook alongside the chicken for the last hour. Thus in 2 hours you will have a meal of luscious roasted meat and golden crispy roast potatoes and root veg. If you want gravy see the recipe for gravy making.