I’m quite sure families all over Australia dive into a midweek roast chook – ours included. After all, chicken is one of the most convenient and quick roasts getting around and it’s almost impossible to get wrong. Here I share with you how an extra ten minutes of prep takes this mid-week wonder from ho-hum to oh yum!
What sets an average roast chicken meal apart from a ritzy one? The answer is both simple and calorific – it all lies in the butter. Adding a whack of flavour to your roast chicken is easy by creating a herb butter and spreading it under the skin, promising a flavour bombed bite every time. Herb butter can be made with just garlic and parsley or you can completely go to town with a bouquet of favourite herbs, whichever ones take your tastebud fancy.
1 whole chicken (I chose a free range bird closer to the 2kg mark for my family of five)
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
6 garlic cloves (three crushed)
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra three sprigs
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, plus extra three sprigs
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus three extra sprigs
4 fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 220°C.
- Mix in a bowl the butter, crushed garlic, chopped herbs, fennel seeds and salt.
- Rinse and pat dry your roast chicken with paper towel.
- Season the cavity of your chicken with salt and pepper and fill it with the remaining garlic cloves and herb sprigs.
- Starting at the neck end, slide your finger under the skin and gently pull the skin from the breast meat. Be careful not to tear the skin (if like me, you have giant, unladylike fingers, use a thin, clean, round implement – my spatula handle is perfect). Turn the chicken and go from the other end, gently levering the skin away from the top of the chicken thigh. I promise, this is the trickiest bit.
- Put a tablespoon of the herb butter mixture aside and use the rest for spreading under the chicken skin, to the breast and upper thighs. Smooth it out gently with your fingers on top of the skin and try to push any air bubbles out towards the skin openings.
- Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen string and place the bird in your pan.
- Use some of the residual herb butter mix to now give your chicken a lovely massage. Trust me, it’s worth it. When you’re done and it’s all buttered up, add a sprinkling of pepper.
- Roast chicken in hot oven (220°C) for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the chicken with a bit of the herb butter you put aside. Lower the oven temperature to 190°C and continue cooking your chicken for the recommended time for the chicken’s weight. A general rule of thumb is 25 minutes per 500g, but do check what your packaging says.
- Continue to baste your chicken every 20 minutes with the herb butter until cooked. Cover with foil and let it rest for five to 10 minutes before serving.
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