How to Cook a Perfect Roast Chicken

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A Roast Chicken ranks alongside national favourite  Roast Beef as the perfect meat for a Sunday Lunch.  Roast chicken makes a great alternative as it is a lighter, and healthier meat because it has a lower total fat content than red meats with most of that monounsaturated.

The roast chicken is also good in the summer months when some think it too hot for the traditional roasts. Cooking a chicken is very easy as you can see with these handy tips

1. What is Perfect Roast Chicken?

A perfect roast chicken should be cooked carefully to make sure it is cooked all the way through (see the notes below) but still be moist and have a lovely crisp, golden brown skin.

2. The Best Chicken for a Perfect Roast

There is much said about the costs of buying chicken particularly since many chickens out there have been intensively reared (though this is changing as legislation comes into force in the UK), these chickens often tend to be much cheaper than more ethically reared birds. Often the intensively reared chickens are tasteless and when roasted can tend to be a little on the dry side (though these are good for casseroles and slow cooking). If you can, buy a chicken which is free range, and though more expensive, corn fed and organic are the best for flavour and texture.

3. How Much Chicken Do You Need

A 1.6-kilo chicken will feed four well and still have leftovers.

4. Before Cooking the Chicken

  1. If the chicken needs to be stored before cooking, leave it lightly wrapped in foil (not plastic) in a deep roasting tray in the fridge on a lower shelf to make sure that any juices from the chicken do not leak onto any other foods creating cross-contamination (see below on safety notes).
  1. At the time of cooking, the chicken should be at room temperature, not cold straight from the fridge. So, remove for an hour and leave covered in a cool, not warm, place.
  2. Always put the chicken into a preheated oven and cook to the correct temperature.

5. Cooking the Chicken

Chicken should be roasted for 20 minutes per 450 g / 1 lb plus an extra 10-20 mins to ensure it is cooked right through. If possible, use a meat thermometer pierced into the thickest part of the breast reaching a temperature of 75°C / 165° F to ensure thorough cooking. If you don't have a thermometer then pierce between the leg and the body of the chicken, the juices will run clear when the chicken is cooked properly.

6. For Golden Brown Skin

Before cooking the chicken, rub the breast and legs thickly with softened butter and then sprinkle with a little sea salt just before roasting. The butter and salt will help create a crisp skin, be all golden and taste divine.

Chicken Loves Other Flavours

Chicken is meat which will take in other flavours around it so stuff herbs, garlic, or onion (or all of these) into the cavity. Lemon is a particularly good flavour with meat, take a look at this Lemon Roast Chicken Recipe for inspiration, it is one of my favourites.

And if you have never tried it, Elizabeth Davids recipe with 40 cloves of garlic is a must.

7. The Chicken Must Rest

An important part of cooking any meat is once it is removed from the oven the meat must rest. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the roasting tin and place onto a serving plate, cover loosely with foil and leave for a minimum of 15 minutes.

This is the recipe for The Perfect Roast Chicken Recipe

In addition you should read the following ...

Safety Notes for Raw Chicken

Raw chicken can be something of a hazard in the kitchen as it can carry salmonella