So making roast chicken may not be rocket science but judging from the number of people I know who claim not to know how to produce juicy, moist meat along with deliciously crispy skin, I felt I should share my simple technique with you. Now is the time to enjoy all things roasted; the weather is colder, root vegetables are in season and a juicy, plump chicken beckons!
I must confess that I don't like to go for the larger chickens (or Franken-chickens) that are sold in supermarkets. I lay the blame squarely on my mother for putting me off them as she always said BIG chickens are OLD chickens. Although I now know that this isn't entirely true, there is still something unsettling about a giant chicken with breasts the size of Pamela Andersons. Instead I prefer to opt for a small or medium sized bird, weighing no more than 1.5kg and (as if you needed to ask) YES! IT HAS TO BE FREE-RANGE!!! So here goes:
Perfect Roast Chicken
1 small or medium free-range chicken (forget Organic, free-range is more important!)
2 teaspoons of dried sage (you can use dried thyme if you prefer, or omit herbs entirely)
Maldon sea salt
Good quality olive oil
1 pint of water
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line your tray with baking paper. Place your chicken sideways in the centre of the tray and liberally drizze olive oil over the bird, ensuring the wings, legs, breast and whole bird get a good coating. Use your hands if need be. Then using a couple of teaspoons of Maldon sea salt (DON'T even be tempted to use any other salt) crumble it all over the bird ensuring all parts get a good sprinkle of salt. Then season the bird with black pepper and lastly, the dried sage.
Pour a pint of cold water into the baking tray and roast the bird for 45 minutes (medium bird) and then remove the chicken from the oven and generously baste your it with the juices in the pan (legs, breasts and wings) and then turning the pan the opposite way round, cook for another 45 minutes. TIP: If you choose a small bird, reduce the cooking time to 1hr and 10 minutes. Allow the bird to rest for 10 minutes (covered with foil) before serving. Delicious! For a different variation, before drizzling the oil over the bird, I squeeze the juice of 2 lemons over the bird and then grate the zest of both lemons over it also. Then drizzle oil, season with salt and pepper and use thyme (or dried rosemary) and follow the same cooking instructions to produce a variation on the same perfect roast chicken.