How to make the perfect roast

May 24, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Everyone loves a roast chicken fresh out of the oven -- it's the easiest way to rally the troops to the dinner table and share a meal together. Try this recipe for a basic roast chicken and mouth-watering sides.

Roasted chicken

Best roasting tips

  • Buy quality ingredients: If you're hoping to impress guests or family with a flawless roast, don't skimp on the quality of the chicken. Aim to buy a free-range or organic bird and save money by keeping the seasoning simple instead.
  • Watch the time: While we all know how important it is to avoid undercooking a chicken, it's equally as important to avoid overcooking the bird. A tough, dry roast can't even be salvaged with a fantastic gravy, so keep a close check on the temperature and time, and use a meat thermometer to check the roast chook's progress if you feel it will help.
  • Remember resting time: Regardless of how hungry you are or how much the kids are hollering, it's essential to let the chicken rest for about 15 to 20 minutes after you pull it from the oven. This will help the juices to work their magic and produce a moist, tender chicken.
  • Serve with sides: Create a well-rounded meal by teaming your meat main with a few vegetable dishes on the side. Think roast parsnip and potatoes, steamed greens and carrots, and roasted tomatoes.

Basic roast chicken

Serves 6 

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole (approx. 1.5 kilogram) roasting chicken
  • Vegetables, chopped and sliced -- e.g. onion, carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large lemon, cut into wedges
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Garlic cloves
  • Butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
  2. Clean your chicken by rinsing well with water inside and out. Check for any stray feathers. Pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Place your choice of assorted veggies on the bottom of a large roasting pan, add oil and mix to combine.
  4. Stuff the chicken by sprinkling salt and pepper inside the cavity, then add lemon wedges, rosemary and a few cloves of garlic.
  5. Rub the outside of the chicken with butter, then season with salt and pepper.
  6. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and scatter some more rosemary and sliced garlic around the tray.
  7. Roast in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. To test, insert a skewer into the chicken and check that the juices run clear.
  8. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with alfoil for 10 to 15 minutes to rest.
  9. Carve the roast chicken and serve with vegetables and gravy.

Roast potatoes

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 8 large potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Wash and peel the potatoes and chop into small chunks.
  3. Place in a bowl with olive oil and salt, and mix to combine.
  4. Arrange the potatoes on a roasting tray greased with olive oil.
  5. Roast for about 45 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and cooked on the inside, and golden and crunchy on the outside.

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