One of my all time favourite dinners growing up was my Mum’s Roast Chicken and Potatoes with gravy. We didn’t get to have this very often so when we did, I savoured every second. As a young adult, learning how to cook a Roast Chicken was almost a rite of passage for me and a skill I hold very dear to my heart.
The ability to warm the house with the heat of the oven, as well filling each room with the succulent smell of Chicken roasting with lemon is a ritual that makes me feel as if I could love even the most damaged soul back to life with my cooking.
The recipe you will find below is one which is embarrassingly simple, but for that exact reason, everyone in the world should learn it – by heart. The benefit of this simple recipe is that it produces a guaranteed result every single time. It can also be built upon to add different seasonings. Although, I don’t see why you would need to add anything to this timeless and classic fail-safe.
You will need:
- I large chicken (roughly 2kg)
- 1 large lemon
- 1 tablespoon melted butter (or good olive oil)
- 2-3 large carrots *Optional
- Salt & pepper
- Pre-heat your fan-forced oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Pat your chicken dry (inside and out) with paper towel and remove any “gibblets” from inside the chicken. NB- NSW Food Safety Regulations recommend NOT washing your raw chicken as this can contaminate your kitchen and other utensils, so just use paper towel.
- Very gently use your fingers or a spoon to separate the underside of the skin from the flesh. Be very careful not to tear the skin!
- Cut your lemon in half and stick both halves inside the chicken cavity. Also season the inside of the cavity with a few cracks each of salt and pepper.
- Cut your carrots into large chunks and line the bottom of a large baking tray with the carrots to place the chicken on top of. You could also just use a chicken baking rack.
- Rub the outside of the skin covering the chicken breast with the fat (butter or oil) and then season with salt & pepper. This will make irresistibly crispy skin.
- Place the chicken on top of the carrots or baking rack and place into the oven.
- A very useful rule of thumb to keep in mind for cooking chicken is 30 minutes, PLUS 20 minutes per 500g. That is, for a 2kg chicken, cook for 1 hour 50 minutes.
- You will know the chicken is cooked when the juices run clear from the thigh or breast of the chicken when poked with a knife or skewer. If the fluid runs pink from the bird, it is not cooked through yet.
- Allow the chicken to rest outside the oven for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
The lemon will tenderise and season the chicken from within as it roasts. You could use any juices at the bottom of the pan to make a gravy by transferring to a separate pan, adding a scant tablespoon of flour and a cup of chicken or beef stock, whisking together to combine. Allow this to reduce for 10 minutes on medium-high heat and season with salt and pepper.
You could also place a tray of some sliced potatoes into the oven at the same time to have Roast Potatoes ready at the same time as the chicken.