It is no secret that I am not the world’s biggest lover of roast dinners. Whilst I don’t mind them every now and then, and despite my mother making a pretty delicious roast, I often just don’t get what all the fuss is about. That is until we are talking about a roast gammon dinner, and that my friends, is a big game changer. My mum makes the world’s best roast gammon; that being said I realised I have never actually made a roast chicken and secretly, what I really wanted was to make a nice big pot of stock. I’ve been saving bones out of ribs and chicken thighs and popping them in the freezer but what I really needed was the bones of a roast chicken. Roast chicken is also especially useful between the two of us because it leaves enough meat to have on my salads at lunch, when I’m at work.
The decision maker on the roast chicken debate was seeing this recipe in Russ Crandall’s ‘The Ancestral Table’. I especially liked the idea of using citrus peel inside the bird during roasting because I could then chuck that in my stock pot too! Scrumptious! The Ancestral Table is a book I will never tire of using for inspiration, Russ’ Blog is fantastic too.
- 1 whole chicken, between 1-2 kg. (Ours was 2.15 kg)
- 0.5 tsp of sea salt (I use Maldon flakes)
- 0.5 tsp of black pepper
- 0.5 tsp of dried thyme
- 3 cloves of garlic
- The peel of one lemon or orange, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- Cooking twine
- Leave the chicken out for an hour to adjust to room temperature. Pat the chicken dry with kitchen roll.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C fan (or 230°C).
- In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper and thyme.
- Place one third of the spice mixture inside the bird, along with the garlic, peel and bay leaf.
- Truss the chicken with the cooking twine, see this tutorial. Luckily my chicken came pre-trussed.
- Cover the outside of the chicken in the remaining spice mix, place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for one hour.
- After the hour, cut and remove the twine and bake for another 15 minutes. I found my chicken needed an extra 15 minutes on top of this as it was a large one. A chicken is cooked if when held up, the juices run clear. Food thermometer probes can be picked up really cheaply and I’d advise getting one. It makes it much easier to check if things are cooked, without cutting them open. Insert the thermometer into the breast and also deep down into the thigh, the chicken should be above 75°C.
- Serve and enjoy, the crispy skin is gorgeous!
- Remember to save the peel and bones for your stock pot!