10 Steps to a Perfect Roast Chicken
Today I’d like to share my thought process about how I cook a roast, in the hope that if you’ve never cooked one before you’ll have the confidence to try it yourself. If you’re more of a visual thinker then click on the infographic above for a roast chicken timeline!
For those of you who do cook roasts, please share your own tips in the comments.
- 1.6kg free range chicken
- Maris Piper potatoes
- 2 onions
- 2 sticks celery
- 2 carrots
- Rosemary or thyme sprigs
- 3 garlic cloves
- Glass of white or red wine
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- How long to set aside. A chicken of 1.6kg, which serves 4, takes around 1 hour 30 minutes to cook at 200°C / 392F / FAN 180°C – for exact times click here. Add 40 minutes onto the cooking time to allow for resting and par boiling potatoes, and this is roughly how long your roast will take to make
- Preparation. Arrange shelves in your oven so there’s room for the chicken in the middle and potatoes below, before pre-heating for 15-20 minutes. Peel and chop your Maris Piper potatoes and any other vegetables you’re having
- For perfect potatoes with crispy skins and fluffy middles. Boil with one whole lemon in salted water for 8-10 minutes. Remove the lemon and drain the potatoes. Return the potatoes to the pan and give them a shake to rough up the edges before leaving to cool
- Creating your stock. Prepare and chop a couple of onions, celery, carrots and herbs and place in the bottom of the roasting tray, then put the chicken on top. As well as creating a great base for your gravy the vegetables act as a stand and allow the chicken to cook more evenly
- Flavouring the chicken. For a classic lemon and garlic chicken mix 1-2 tablespoons of well seasoned soft butter with 2 or 3 crushed garlic cloves and rub into the chicken – I have a hot bowl of soapy water ready to wash my hands in after. Pierce the lemon from the previous step and put inside the chicken
- Roasting the bird. Put the chicken in the middle shelf of your oven and set a timer for 1 hour 30 minutes. You can now take a break for an hour and entertain friends, family or pets. Baste the chicken a couple of times during cooking
- Roasting the potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and put in the oven for the last 30 minutes of the chicken’s cooking, then leave them in while it’s resting. Turn the potatoes once during cooking
- The chicken is cooked. After 1 hour 30 minutes remove the chicken from the oven and cut between a leg and the body to check the juices run clear, ie there’s no blood. Tip up the chicken to pour the lemony juices into your roasting tray, before placing on a plate and covering with two layers of foil to keep warm. Move the potatoes up a shelf in your oven
- A delicious gravy. Spoon and discard the fat from the juices, before placing the roasting tray directly over a medium heat. Add a glass of white or red wine, a knob of butter and some water and scrape all the best bits from the bottom of the tray. Reduce for 15-20 minutes before tasting and seasoning. Add 1-2 teaspoons of cornflour mixed with cold water to thicken, if required, before passing through a sieve into a gravy boat
- Extras. While your gravy is reducing you can cook any extra vegetables like broccoli, carrots or peas
Your roast potatoes and vegetables are ready, your chicken’s had a rest and your gravy is done. It’s time to sit down and eat. Still got things to do? Just leave the chicken resting for a little longer, it’ll be fine!
Questions, comments or your own tips to share? Leave a comment below please!
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