Tips and Tricks for THE best roast chicken.
I love cooking, like really LOVE it.
One thing i like to claim to be THE master of and will gladly tell anyone i know is... I make the best damn roast chicken around! It brings me great joy to cook it and even more joy seeing the people i love eating it.
There are a few tips and tricks to achieving this perfection that i'm willing to share with you all, aren't i nice!
1. Pick the right bird.
Like good shoes, you pay for what you get. Don't think a cheap, skinny, sad old chicken from god knows where will end up being a beautiful, succulent, glorious bird when you take it out of the oven. Spend the money and get yourself a free range, hormone free, organic, happy, hefty and beautiful bird and do that bird proud by cooking her with love!
2. A shallow and snug dish.
You want consistent coverage of heat when you roast this baby. This is the key to evenly cooked, crispy skin goodness while roasting. I learnt from a chef friend that your chicken needs just enough but not too much space when roasting. You want the heat to travel around the chicken, not just over the top. Give your bird her own tray too, don't cram her in with the spuds! I use a small paella dish. It fits a chicken beautifully and is nice and shallow.
3. An orange.
Yes it's sounds strange, but the orange is key. Slice it in half and then shove it, well you know where. Yes, it's not pleasant but the moisture it will inject into the chicken while it gets all steamy inside the cavity when it's roasting will be worth it. Not to mention the beautiful citrus-y aroma it gives the chicken and your kitchen. If you don't have an orange handy you can substitute for a lemon or i've even done mandarin's before. Whatever you pick roll it around on your kitchen counter first to get it good and juicy.
4. Olive oil and Salt.
These two really are what makes the outside beautifully crispy and gives the chicken it's golden glow. Be generous with both of them and of course, buy the good stuff. Extra virgin olive oil always and invest in a good salt. I'm a Maldon girl, it's glorious flakes really are second to none. Pat dry your bird, you want all the excess water/moisture off it before you slather her in olive oil and cover her liberally, very liberally with salt. Just salt, pepper after she's done.
5. A hot, hot oven.
Get your oven pre-heating well before you start preparing your bird. You want it screaming hot! 200 degrees is perfect. When your'e ready to put her in, make sure your oven rack is in the middle of your oven and give your chicken 10 mins at 200 then turn it right down to 175 degrees. You want to shock that skin into crispiness! Now each bird depending on it's weight will vary in cooking time. Test your bird by inserting a small knife into the thickest part and check the juices are clear. Be mindful not to over cook and when you drag her out of the oven give her 10 mins resting time. Don't fret, it won't get cold. You want all the juices to evenly distribute throughout the bird and the meat to relax for easy carving.
So, the quick run down again...
Get a great quality chicken, pat her dry, liberally apply olive oil and salt, a halved orange right up in there, shallow tray, hot oven, lower the oven, watch the timing, rest her then enjoy her!
I promise you it will become your go to for Sunday dinner and put a smile on the dial of your entire family. Enjoy!