Topsy Turvy Crispy Roast Chicken With Salt Crust Seasoning

"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!)"
photo by Pneuma photo by Pneuma
photo by Pneuma
photo by French Tart photo by French Tart
photo by French Tart photo by French Tart
photo by French Tart photo by French Tart
photo by French Tart photo by French Tart
Ready In:
9hrs 45mins




  • 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.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Diane in Burbank, CA
    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.
  2. Pneuma
    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.
  3. christinaleans
    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!
  4. Noo8820
    I was inspired to make this when I saw Annacia's beautiful photos of this on Photo Tag,and I filed it away in my cookbooks for a rainy day.Well,they forecast heavy rain storms for last weekend,so I decided to get on and finally try this recipe.I'm SO glad that I did. There really is nothing to this recipe,except a little advance planning (for salting),so not much of a difference,workwise, from a normal routine roast..but,and it is a BIG but..that is where the similarities end. This chicken has the most beautifully crisp and tasty skin,and the flavour of the meat itself is just glorious.Like Annacia said,the inclusion of the herbs,lemon and onion really does make a huge difference to the flavour of the meat. DH actually noticed the difference too,and commented on how gorgeous the chicken was,and the children gobbled it up. To say that we loved this is quite a serious understatement...I won't be cooking roast chicken any other way again.Thank you so much for posting this little gem.
  5. Annacia
    Where do I start? First I think that I need to say that this is without doubt the very best roast chicken I have ever made or eaten anywhere! I decided to make this for Christmas dinner back in Nov and kept looking at the recipe on and off for that month wondering what I'd gotten myself into. Christmas rolled around and as it was tagged for Photo Tag there was nothing for it but to forge ahead and I did. It is a lot easier than I had anticipated! ok, it takes awhile but most of that time is spent waiting. As my bird was still semi frozen on Christmas Eve I had to apply the salt crust early on Christmas morning and find a place for it back in the fridge. It sat there for 8 hours. I was quite surprised at how the crust clings to the chicken and found that to remove it all (if you wanted to) you would need to rinse it off. It took no time to apply the seasoning that was ready and waiting and there is nothing to cutting an onion and lemon in half and stuffing them inside. About the onion and lemon, I was truly amazed at how they flavored every bit of the chicken. I didn't try the drumstick but the pieces of breast and thigh that I tried were fully flavored, incredibly moist and tender. Every bite was your dream chicken dinner come true! I could not have chosen a better recipe for Christmas Dinner nor can I praise this highly enough. I just wish that I could give it 10 stars. Made for Santa's Secret in Photo Tag.


<p><strong><span>The sunflowers in the field behind my house in SW France:</span></strong></p> <p><img title=Sunflowers src= alt=Sunflowers width=640 height=480 /><br /><strong><span><br /><br />I am British (English-Scottish), but I was born in South Africa and have lived all over the world, including Hong Kong, Germany, Cyprus, USA &amp; Singapore. I have also been very fortunate to have travelled extensively over the years.........I still have wanderlust! <br /><br />I used to be an English Literature &amp; Art History teacher &amp; lecturer; before that, I trained and worked as a Graphic Designer for many years. I now live in France with my husband &amp; my daughter who has just started university in September 2006. We also have one very chatty Burmese cat Willow, who allows us to live with her here! (I used to have three cats, I recently lost Monty, a beautiful seal point Siamese and before that, Rama, who was a debonair blue point Siamese cat - I would love to have another Siamese cat or cats in the future!)</span></strong></p> <p><em><strong><span>This is my Burmese Cat, Willow, sunning herself on the log pile in the kitchen garden:</span></strong></em></p> <p><strong><img title=My src= alt=My width=640 height=480 /></strong></p> <p><strong><span>Here is my lovely Monty, a seal point Siamese, and Willow, sitting&nbsp;in the kitchen garden last year, and a few months before Monty died; he was 18yrs old:</span></strong></p> <p><img title=Monty src= alt=Monty width=640 height=480 />My</p> <p><strong><span>This is my wonderful old boy, Rama, a blue-point Siamese, who died when he was 20yrs old - excuse the old and much sellotaped photo:</span></strong></p> <p><img title=Rama src= alt=Rama width=517 height=639 /></p> <p><strong><span>My favourite pastimes are: reading, writing, painting &amp; drawing, photography, gardening, anything creative, walking, travelling, dining out and of course COOKING! I love all types of cuisine, but especially Traditional British - and NO it is NOT all bad!! I particularly love food associated with the changing seasons plus traditional feasts &amp; festivals, as well as Slow Cooking. I also enjoy French &amp; North African cuisine, come to think of it, there isn't much I don't like! <br /><br />My husband &amp; I run a Chambres D'Hotes, (Bed and Breakfast) called Auberge de la Fontaine here in beautiful South West France; we specialise in Gourmet Food &amp; Wine Breaks, French Antiques &amp; Restoration courses, French Language courses and French Cookery classes. Our home is completely furnished with Antique French furniture that we have rescued &amp; restored ourselves. Our charming village has one of the oldest Churches in the region &amp; it is famous for its connection with the St.Jacques de Compostella Pilgrimage route, as well as being within the Cognac &amp; Bordeaux wine growing area. <br /><br />We have a wonderful garden where we grow ALL of our own herbs and most of our fruit and vegetables. I specialise in rare, unusual and old-fashioned herbs, which I grow in our walled garden. As well as growing herbs, I also grow many different varieties of lavender, old-fashioned shrub roses and heirloom fruit and vegetables. <br /><br />We have lived overseas for many, many years now - but we both still love going home to Northern England, near Scarborough &amp; York, to visit our family &amp; friends. 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