To my mind there is nothing more enjoyable than feasting on a roast chicken, no matter the temperature outside. It makes a perfect dinner to serve to guests, an ideal Sunday lunch and, of course, when it's all finished and you've licked your greasy fingers clean, you have bones for making broth. I find adding herbs is a wonderful way to cook it during the warmer months, when all you need is a green herby salad accompaniment and a simple dressing with oil and lemon juice to echo the juices from the cooked bird. Sometimes I even serve the cooked juice as my salad dressing.
Want to read my tips for successfully roasting a chicken? Then read on :
- Buy the best quality you can afford, not only does it taste better but it's likely led a happier, healthier life
- Buying a pastured chicken ensures you are not eating something that has been grain fed and therefore higher in Omega-6, i.e. higher in the inflammation department
- When I first started to cook, the rule of thumb for roasting chickens was 20 minutes per lb plus an extra 20 minutes. But better quality chickens take less time to cook so bear that in mind
- Aways allow your chicken to come up to room temperature before it goes into the oven
- Cut off the parson's nose (the sticky out bit at the back of the chicken) as there is a gland that can make a chicken taste bitter
- Whether or not you truss your chicken is up to you, personally I don't usually bother though it looks much prettier tied. Go here to see how if you're unsure
- Put the wings into the 'sunbathing position', i.e. tuck them behind the neck to keep them compact and neat
- Roast your chicken in a pan that it fits into nicely. If the pan is too small the cooking fat and juices will make a mess of your oven but too large and the tasty cooking juices evaporate and burn. And believe me, these herby juices are waaay too amazing to miss out on.
lemon and mint roasted chicken
This recipe works well no matter the herbs. If you don't have any mint to hand, use whatever you do have, it'll still be amazing!
Print the recipe here
Preheat oven 400F
Put the first three ingredients into a medium bowl, together with the lemon zest. Using a fork, mix everything together, pushing down and stirring around until everything is incorporated into a loose paste. Set aside. Next, put your chicken into a roasting pan that it fits reasonably snugly into and push your forefinger between the skin and flesh at the bottom end of the chicken to separate the membrane from the flesh. Move your finger from side to side as you push up towards the neck area, creating a pocket, then move your finger into the legs to open up a gap there too. Take care not to break the skin or the herby juices will run straight out during cooking. Leave roughly a tablespoon worth of the paste and rub this onto the outside of the chicken breasts and legs. Halve the lemon and put both pieces inside the cavity of the bird. This creates steam inside, which keeps the flesh nice and moist. If you are going to truss your chicken do it now, using the link above if you're not sure how, then sprinkle some more salt over the top of the bird and put it into the oven, legs facing to the back of the oven. After 20 minutes turn the oven temperature down to 350F and continue cooking a further 45 minutes, or until juices run clear when pierced with a skewer in the thickest part of the chicken, between the breast and the thigh.
Hold the chicken up over the roasting pan to allow the juices and one of the lemon halves to run out from the inside back into the pan then transfer it to a serving platter. Let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, scrape the tasty scraps from the bottom of the pan and reheat the juices, pressing down the lemon to extract the roasted juice. Add some chicken broth if necessary. Allow it to bubble until thickened slightly, taste for seasoning, adding a little more salt or lemon juice as needed.
Serve with a green salad.