I went to an event recently where they mentioned that a roast chicken is one of the most popular meals in Australia for families. I wasn't surprised. But here's where I am surprised: how many people think a roast is just for the weekend or too hard for a week night. The other thing that amazes me is how many people over cook their chook. So here's my guide to the perfect roast chicken.
So I cook a roast regularly on a weeknight. The main reason for this is that I love to be able to use the leftover meat in lunches for the rest of the week and I really like to use it in things like pasta, risotto etc so it makes my week easier. More often than not I do two chickens at once as it sets us up for the week! It takes very little extra effort to do two instead of one.
Chicken is one of those things that kids just seem to like. It takes flavouring so well and you can adapt it to suit your families tastes. I am constantly surprised by what you can do to a roast chicken and also what you can make with the meat once cooked.
So what makes the perfect roast? Succulent juicy meat. A flavourful crispy skin. Even juiciness all over- i.e. no dry breast. I'm not a fan of gravy, so I need my chicken to not need it. And that's why I put together this recipe post.
It might seem a lot of extra work to stuff the breast with butter and rosemary, but it makes all the difference as the butter helps to keep the breast moist and means you can cook the thighs and legs to the temperature they need to be cooked to.
As a general rule, the chicken needs to cook for 30 minutes per 500grams. You can further test for doneness by inserting a skewer into the thigh meat and checking that the juices run clear.
Try these other recipes for family dinner:
- The best ever, tastiest Kidgredients fried chicken
- Sticky honey soy lamb riblets
- Crunchy baked chicken wings with balsamic honey glaze
- Sumac Crusted Preserved Lemon Chicken
The perfect roast chicken
- 1 chicken
- 3 tbsps butter softened
- 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
- 1 clove garlic
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ a lemon I use the juice and zested lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Combine the rosemary, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl.
- Gently lift the skin of the chicken around the neck area using your fingers and gently separate it from the breast, the full length.
- Push the butter mixture under the skin, filling the gap between the meat and the skin.
- Push the half lemon, cut side inwards into the bottom cavity of the chicken.
- Place the chicken, breast side up into a large baking dish.
- Oil the whole top of the chicken.
- Rub the paprika across the whole top of the chicken.
- Bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes per 500grams. I usually allow about 1.5 hours.