Prep 8 hrs
Cook 1 hr 45 mins
A great method for cooking a perfect whole roast chicken - no dried out breast meat and no half raw leg and thigh meat, just moist chicken with crispy, seasoned skin. I like to use corn-fed chickens for a truly lovely texture, flavour and colour. The salt crust and seasoning mix that I suggest, really gives a great flavour and crispy finish; however, if you have your own favourite seasoning mix, please use that instead. Salting chicken before cooking draws out excess moisture, making the flesh firmer and the skin crispy. Serve this roast chicken with traditional accompaniments such as roast potatoes, stuffing, fresh seasonal vegetables and gravy. (It is nice to buy and cook organic or humanely produced chickens; I realise that they cost a little bit more, but the taste is superior and you will not be supporting a cruel and unnecessary way of animal husbandry - you taste what you pay for!)
- 1 fresh roasting chicken, weighing approximately 1 . 5kg (3 1/4 lbs)
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1 onion, cut in half
- fresh herb, such as rosemary, sage, parsley, tarragon, thyme
- sea salt (rock salt)
- melted butter or olive oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic granules
- Mix all the seasoning mix ingredients together and store in a jar until needed.
- Remove all the wrapping from the chicken and snip the elasticated string that ties the chicken together. Wipe the chicken all over with kitchen paper to dry the skin. Sprinkle a good amount of rock salt over, making sure that you cover all the chicken. Now chill overnight or for at least 8 hours so the salt can draw out any excess moisture.
- Preheat the oven to 190C, 375F or gas mark 5.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking, brush and shake off the excess rock salt.
- Place the chicken in the roasting tin and season inside the cavity. Push the lemon and onion inside with the herbs. These will produce steam and flavour, to keep the chicken moist. Brush the chicken all over with melted butter or olive oil, then season liberally with the rest of the seasoning mix. (The salt makes the skin crispy and the butter will keep the chicken moist.).
- Roast the chicken, breast side up, in the centre of the oven for 1 hour, then carefully remove the chicken, and with two roasting forks to aid you, turn the chicken over, so the breast is underneath now. Continue to cook for a further 30 minutes. Then take the chicken out and turn it over once more, with the breast side up now, and continue to roast for a further 15 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
- To check that it is cooked, pierce the fattest part of the thigh with a fine skewer. If the juices are pink or show traces of blood, cook the chicken a further 10-15 minutes, then check again. If the juices are pale golden, the chicken is cooked.
- Using two forks, lift the chicken from the roasting tin onto a large plate and reserve the cooking juices. Leave for 10 minutes before carving. This allows the juices, which have risen to the surface during cooking, to be reabsorbed into the meat to give a moist texture.
- Cook's tips.
- How to make Gravy.
- Drain all but 3 tbsp of the juices from the roasting tin. Set the roasting tin on a hob and reheat the juices. Sprinkle in 2 tsp of plain flour and stir well with a wooden spoon. Gradually stir in 300ml chicken stock. Bring to the boil, stirring until thickened and smooth. Season well. If the gravy is bland, add a little mustard and a splash of soy sauce. For a special gravy, some of the stock can be replaced with red or white wine.
- Carving the Chicken.
- Hold the chicken steady with a fork, then insert a large sharp knife between the body and leg. Cut off the leg. Divide the leg in half at the joint to give a drumstick and thigh portion. Cut away the wing on the same side. Carve down the breast in thick slices. Repeat on the other side of the chicken.
I remember making this a few weeks ago and it was so good. We usually roast chicken similar to this but what stood out here was putting in the lemon inside the cavity. Such a brilliant idea! The fresh herb I used here was rosemary and I must say that each time I took a bite of this succulent roasted chicken, I couldn't help but go oooh as the taste was just wonderful and so was the gravy. Definitely a keeper! Thanks, FT! Made for Recipe Swap #30.
I'm not providing stars because I adapted this recipe for a large chicken breast. A whole roast chicken is too much for just me & my hubby, let alone, I wouldn't know what to do with it. But, I used a seasoned salt I love and sprinkled all over while it was thawing all day in the fridge (I pulled it out a few times and re-sprinkled). I then mixed together prepared mustard, a little olive oil, fresh minced garlic, & paprika together. I put onions in the bottom dish, drizzled a little olive oil and dab some of the mustard mixture on them. I then brushed that onto the chicken breast and placed on top of the onions. I squeezed a half a lemon over it and sprinkled parsley on top, then stuck it in the oven. It turned out really good. Thanks French Tart for a keeper.
Another incredible recipe! This was the juciest and most flavorful bird I have ever cooked. I am so used to brining and then filling the roasting pan with liquids, so while I watched it cook, I thought it might turn out dry, but it could not have been better! I didn't have time to salt the bird for the whole 8 hours, and even after only 4, the results were obvious. Thanks again!