Saturday, 18 June 2011

Perfect Roast Chicken

I used to be so scared to roast my own chicken. There was always that horrible fear when you take the chicken out of the oven to carve, praying that it was cooked through. Because of this I had a tendency to cook chicken until it was over cooked and dry.

So I promise you this recipe is super easy and has quickly become one of my most cooked meals.

When it comes to buying and cooking chicken (or eggs for that matter), please make sure you buy free range or cage free. It means that the chickens have been treated humanly. And its not as expensive as you may think. I picked up a 1.6kg free range corn fed chicken from Safeway for $12.00

As a side dish to what will be a beautifully roasted chicken, I'm going to tell you how to make perfectly roasted crispy potatoes.

1.5kg whole chicken
3 tbl spoons butter, softened
1tspoon lemon rind, finely grated
3-4 sprigs thyme
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lemon
Salt and pepper for seasoning.

4 potatoes

1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees celsius. Wash the inside cavity of the chicken with cold water. Pat dry the inside and outside with paper towel. Making sure to absorb as much moisture as possible.
Place softened butter in a small bowl, add some finely grated lemon rind and a few thyme leaves. Using the back of your spoon mash it all together until well combined.
2. Using a small knife make a slit large enough for your finger between the chicken breast and skin. Squish in one tbl spoon of butter under the skin and gently push it around until it covers the entire breast. Repeat for the remaining breast. Take the final tbl spoon of butter and smear it all over the outside of the chicken. Cut the lemon in half and put one half in the cavity of the chicken, pushing it right to the back. Now place in the sprigs of thyme and the garlive cloves, and the remaining half of lemon. Season the whole chicken with salt and pepper.
3. Place into a lightly greased roasting pan and place in the oven. Cook at 200 degrees for the first 30 mins, to get the skin nice and golden and crispy. Reduce the oven temperature to 180 and cook for an additional 60 mins after that.
As a general rule for most meats cooking time is approx 30 mins per 500 grams.
4. Meanwhile peel and wash your potatoes. Cut each potato in half and place in a pot of cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are slightly tender. Drain and return to the pot over a low heat until the potatoes are dried out a little. Remove from the heat and gently rough up the outside. You can do this by dragging a fork lightly across the potatoes.
Take a baking tray and cover the base with a generous amount of oil. Place in the oven until the oil is hot. Place your potatoes in the hot oil and turn them to ensure they are well coated. Season generously with salt. Cook in a 200 degree oven for approx 30-40 minutes, turning once, until golden  and crispy.
*If cooking with this chicken add them into the oven for the last 40 minutes of chicken cooking time.
5. Once cooked remove the chicken from the oven and rest on a plate for 10 minutes.
Now is a good time to make a gravy. Drain some of the oil from the roasting pan then place the pan on your stove top over a low heat (If your roasting pan isnt stove top safe, you can just pour a few tbl spoons of pan juices into a small saucepan).  Add in 2-3 tbl spoons of a chicken gravy mix and stir until combined with the pan juices. Slowly add water and mix until smooth. Keep slowly adding water until you reach a desired consistancy.
6. Carve your chicken and serve with your perfect roasted potaotes.

Enjoy :)

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