‘Perfect’ is a big claim of course and one I always hesitate to use. It is perhaps a trait of the British, a reluctance to blow one’s own trumpet. But in this case I feel it’s entirely justified.
I’d been roasting chickens the same way for 35+ years, faithfully following the way I was taught as a kid, broadly in line with producers instructions, most cookbooks, and the way everyone else seems to cook them, until I bumped in to an American expat lady who told me I was doing it all wrong.
The method she gave me certainly raised my eyebrows a bit as the cooking time seemed very short. But intrigued, I gave it a go and have been using it ever since! This perfect roast chicken will turn out golden brown on the outside and as juicy as hell on the inside, every time. I kid you not.
- 1 Chicken 1.5 – 2.0kg the best you can afford
- A couple of generous glugs of olive oil
- 1tsp sea salt ground
- 1tsp black pepper freshly ground
- A few herbs for the cavity such as a bayleaf or 2, parsley, thyme etc…
Pat the bird dry and remove (if present) the chunk of hard fat found just inside the cavity.
Rub the olive oil into the chicken then sprinkle over the salt and pepper not forgetting to reserve some for inside the bird. Place the herbs inside the cavity, set the chicken in a roasting tin and place into the oven set at 200ºC Fan. Roast for 1 hour maximum!
After 1 hour remove from the oven and cover the bird while still in the tin with aluminium foil and place a clean tea towel or two over the foil. Rest for thirty minutes, then serve.
The resting time is the key here as the chicken continues to cook under the foil and tea towels without evaporating the juices keeping the meat lovely and moist.
I often squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the chicken after it’s come out of the oven. I think it gives a better, fresher flavour this way.
I often cook whole heads of garlic with this dish drizzling them with a little olive oil and adding them the roasting tin after the chicken has been in the oven for 30 minutes.
One can use any combination of herbs and spices according to taste. For a perfect roast chicken I sometimes jazz it up a little with smoked paprika for a Spanish vibe or partially ground fennel seeds for an Italian/French feel. It’s all the same really.