I grew up with a "Sunday Roast" for Sunday lunch. When I moved to the UK it became obvious was a tradition inherited from our British forbearers. In my home we roasted beef, lamb and chicken. In fact roast chicken was my favourite.
- Preheat oven to 180°C or 200°C (see aside on cooking times) with the roasting tray already inside the oven
Cooking time depends on the temperature of the oven and the weight of the bird. If the bird is stuffed, whether with classic stuffing or just a lemon, then include the weight of stuffing in the calculation of cooking time.
The Edmonds cookbook, famous in NZ, recommends 50 min per kg of chicken plus 20 min. This is all at 180°C except the last 10 min which is at 200°C to crisp the skin.
The packaging on chickens in the UK have cooking times. Waitrose, for example, recommends a higher temperature (200°C) than Edmonds so achieves a slightly faster cooking time. They advise 45 min per kg plus 20 min.
A different recommendation is slightly more tricky and, perhaps, risky given the short cooking time
- Place chicken in roasting tray with one wing up
- Cook for 15 min at 180°C
- Turn chicken so other wing is up
- Cook for 15 min at 180°C
- Increase temperature to 220°C
- Turn chicken so the breast is up
- Cook for 20-25 min
1 x 1.5 kg chicken
- Remove from fridge
- Remove giblets from body cavity (if any)
- Wash and dry chicken inside and out
- Leave to reach room temperature
Stuffing of choice
- Stuff chicken with stuffing of choice
Basting sauce of choice
- Place chicken in roasting tray so the breast is up
- Rub basting sauce all over the chicken
- Cook, basting during cooking, until done (you can tell if the bird is cooked by piercing the inner thigh with a skewer. Pink juices means it needs longer; clear juices means it is cooked.)
- Leave the cooked chicken in a warm place for 5-1 min before carving to allow the meat to 'set'
Salt and Pepper
Sea Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive Olive
1 tablespoon light soya sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
A good combination with a lemon stuffing.
25 grams oil or melted butter
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
You can use Traditional Herb Stuffing but I often replace this with a sliced lemon instead. Or don't stuff at all. If you do add a stuffing then you'll have to cook for longer (see aside on cooking times).
Traditional Herb Stuffing
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, very finely chopped
- Cook onion and celery in a covered pan for 3-5 min (stop before they brown)
- Remove from heat
[Optional] 1-2 grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or other herbs
1 egg white or yolk (but not both)
4 slices of stale bread, crumbled (or replace bread with rice or pasta; or replace 1/2 bread with chopped mushrooms)
- Add remaining ingredients to onion mix
- Mix well
Personally I like the flavour of the lemon and the simplicity of the idea. A good combination with a wine basting sauce.
1 lemon, with eight deep cuts (but not slicing right through)
3 cloves garlic, flattened but unpeeled
[Optional] 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh tarragon, thyme or oreganum
- Place in the chicken's cavity
Light Chicken Gravy
In New Zealand and the UK Roast Chicken is traditionally served with a thin gravy made from the roasting dripping.
- Transfer chicken and any vegetables to a serving dish
- Drain off fat, leaving pan drippings and about 1 tablespoon of fat.
3 tablespoons flour
- Shift flour over the pan
- Mix and heat until bubbles and browns
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (you can boil the giblets in 3 cups of water to make
[Optional] 2 tablespoons sherry
- Simmer for 5 min
- Strain the gravy through a sieve
- Pour into a serving jug