Reproducing a classic meal that everyone has their own ideas about can be daunting, and roast chicken is right up there. But if you get it right, you’ll have family and friends asking for seconds!
Savoury roast chicken
A roasted chicken, when done right, is sure to impress even the most critical of guests. Follow these steps, and you’ll be sure to produce a tasty, golden, crispy-skinned chicken that will have mouths watering.
- 1 chicken, fresh or frozen
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Lemon, sliced
- Sage leaves
- Chicken seasoning (such as McCormick’s Grill Mates Montreal Chicken Seasoning or other favourite brand)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- If the chicken is frozen, defrost it overnight in the fridge.
- Place the oven rack you will be using on a lower row, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- The bag of chicken giblets, such as the neck and liver, are kept inside the cavity of the bird. Remove those now. Preserve them for another recipe such as gravy or stock, or discard if unwanted.
- Rinse the cavity and the outside of the bird. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Distribute the chicken seasoning, garlic and sage inside the cavity. Place lemon slices inside as well. You may use as much or as little of each, depending on the size of your chicken and taste preferences.
- Rub the whole chicken with butter, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the chicken in a deep roasting dish that has been greased with olive oil. Tuck the wings under the shoulders, and tie the legs together with a piece of butcher’s twine.
- Position the dish in the oven in the middle of the lower rack.
- The chicken will need to roast for about 20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 10–20 minutes for good measure. Meaning, a 5-pound chicken will likely need just under 2 hours of cooking time.
- Check on the chicken every 20 minutes, and use a baster to circulate its juices and keep it moist.
- If you’re unsure your chicken is cooked, test it by placing a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. The thermometer should read between 170 and 180 degrees F when the chicken’s ready.
- Once done, remove the chicken from the oven, and let it sit under aluminum foil for around 10 minutes. Then carve and serve!
Once you have a grasp of the basics, start having fun preparing a roast chicken in a variety of delicious ways. Herbs are a great way to explore different tasty combinations. For a bird that’s comforting and reminiscent of Southern Europe, combine thyme, oregano, tarragon and rosemary. Or for an Indian kick, throw together some coriander, cumin and tumeric. Or if you’re in the mood for a Thai twist, replace the lemons with lime, and incorporate some ginger, lemongrass and cilantro. The options are virtually endless!