Roast chicken is perfect for Sundays or festive dinners when the whole family is around. This chicken is juicy on the inside with a crisp golden brown skin on the outside. And, it's made with ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
Dry - Clean and pat dry the chicken on all sides with paper towels. Remove excess fat or leftover feathers.Tip - A dry skin will give a crispy skin. When possible leave the chicken uncovered in the fridge overnight.
Dry rub - In a bowl, combine paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Rub the paprika mixture all over the chicken skin as well as in the cavity.Tip - rubbing the skin with dry paprika gives a deeper color which looks nice.
Garlic butter - In the same bowl, combine the garlic, butter, salt, and pepper. Fill half the garlic butter under the skin over the breast (see video). Spread the remaining over the chicken.Tip - adding butter under the skin will keep the breast moist and tender.
Cavity - Fill the cavity with rosemary, thyme, and lemon halves. Then, truss the chicken, aka tie the chicken legs and tuck the wings under.
Roast the chicken for 15 minutes at 220 C / 440 F – then reduce temperature to 180 C / 390 F.
Butter - After 40 minutes, remove from the oven and brush the skin with butter on all sidesTip -You can skip this step but this will give a nice crisp skin and deeper color.
Put the chicken back into the oven breast side down and bake for another 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer in the thickest part of the chicken thigh.Tip - we turn the chicken so it is golden on all sides and also prevents the breast from drying out.
As a guide, you bake the first 15 minutes at 220C/ 450 F, then calculate 20 minutes for every 1 lb or 500 grams chicken at 180 C/ 360 F. Of course, the best guide is until juices run clear or the internal temperature reaches 165 F / 75 C. Tip - The foolproof method would be to use a meat thermometer. The temperature should reach 165 F or 75 C in the thickest part of the thigh or 145 F in the breast..
Remove the chicken from the oven and tent it with a foil – let cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes before you carve. Use any pan dripping to make gravy.
Skim off any fat in the pan juices. Place the roasting rack on the stovetop or transfer the juices to a frying pan.
Add ½ cup stock and deglaze the pan. Then, add 1 tbsp flour and continue to cook until thickened.
Strain gravy through a sieve into a serving bowl. Serve hot with cut chicken.
Weigh the chicken so you can calculate the baking time.
Pat dry the chicken before you marinate. Time permitting, leave the chicken uncovered in the fridge for 8 hours. The fridge does a great job of drying the skin.
Thaw the chicken well before cooking. Chilled chicken results in uneven roasting.
Leave the skin on when roasting the whole chicken even if you are not going to eat the skin. The skin prevents the meat from drying out and overcooking. Remove excess fat as much as you can.
Loosen the skin of the chicken on the breast this will allow you to add as much seasoning as possible. Use butter, spices or herbs on the breast as this prevents the breast from drying out.
Always season the chicken generously, perhaps a little more than you think it needs. And don't forget to season the cavity.
If you can, tie/truss the chicken or at least tie the legs and tuck the wings under this makes for a better presentation.
Use a roasting pan to roast chicken. If you don't have a roasting pan, scrunch up some foil and make a circle or prop the chicken on a few cut veggies like onions and root veggies. This helps air circulate all around the chicken.
When baked, always tent the chicken and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. This lets all the juices settle in the meat. If you cut too soon the juices will flow out and the chicken will be dry.
Invest in a meat thermometer, these are very inexpensive these days. A meat thermometer takes the guesswork out of any roast and is the best way to know if the chicken is cooked perfectly.