How to Roast a Chicken
For some reason (probably salmonella), lots of people are worried when it comes to chicken, cooking it for so long that it dries out and becomes stringy and bland. There is no need to ruin a chicken like that – they aren’t difficult to cook and you can use it for so many dishes, making it a really versatile meat. This is how to roast a chicken the Hoyles Fitness way!
Unfortunately, lots of the chicken people buy to roast are low welfare, pumped full of water, poorly-butchered and are cooked directly according to instructions which (in my experience at least) are never right!
Here is how to roast a chicken properly and make it so much more than that dry, anonymous meat you have every other Sunday. You can adjust the seasonings and flavourings to suit whatever you are cooking. This is the approach I take for a standard roast chicken, but feel free to use herbs such as tarragon or sage – they are both ideal with chicken!
- Cut away any excess skin, flesh, bone, giblets, feathers, butchers string etc – the cavity needs to be wide open, providing room for hot air to circulate during cooking.
- I wash the chicken with warm water. As well as helping to bring the chicken to room temperature, it also cleans out any bits of entrails that you don’t want.
- Leave the chicken to air-dry on a tray with a rack – use this to cook with as it makes collecting juices and adding extra flavour easier.
- Pull away the skin at the bottom of the breast to create a pocket – this will be used to store a flavoured butter.
- I now begin to add the flavourings. The first step is to make a flavoured butter. I personally use garlic, chicken stock and butter (the onion in the picture is for later).
- Place the butter, chicken stock (1 cube) and the garlic (chopped into largish chunks) into a pestle and mortar (or blender) and beat/mix into a pulp.
- When the butter is mixed, push it down into the pocket between the breast and the skin. Make sure it covers the whole breast.
- When the butter is pushed to the bottom of the skin pocket, rub any excess around the bird, giving the skin a coating. At this point, season with a sprinkling of sea salt.
- To add extra flavour, I use a trick I saw in France. Cut onions into thin rings and place in the bottom of the roasting tray with a few small knobs of butter. As the chicken cooks, these onions slowly roast and add an onion flavour to the meat, all the while picking up juices from the chicken and tasting amazing themselves!
- Cover the whole roasting tray and chicken in foil and cook. Ignore the instructions on the packaging as they lead to an over-cooked chicken. Aim for a temperature of 170 degrees Celsius for 70-80 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
- There is no need to remove the foil – as my picture shows the skin will still brown, even when covered!
- Check the chicken is cooked by piercing the thigh – if the juices are clear, it’s cooked.
- Leave the chicken ti rest for 5-10 minutes – the residual heat will continue to cook it.
You don’t have to limit roast chicken to a traditional English roast – you can use it however you like! Here is how I served it….
This was served with courgette spaghetti, peas, sweetheart cabbage, roasted onions (from the chicken), bacon and broccoli!
There you go, the Hoyles Fitness guide to how to roast a chicken – never eat boring, dry chicken again!