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The Perfect Roast Chicken.

Updated: Aug 11, 2022

By Mia McCarthy


roast chicken

“Anyone can cook.” That’s the golden take-away message of the 2007 culinary and cinematic masterpiece, Ratatouille. It’s true.

But something must be said about the quality of one’s cooking tools. Anyone can cook, but a cook’s task is easier to accomplish with the right gear.

I don’t mean to brag but, for my birthday this year, I was gifted my most prized item yet: a Le Creuset signature oval casserole pot in the colour Nectar. It’s a lovely yellow colour with rich accents - we fondly refer to it as the Honey Pot.

If you aren’t a diehard fan of cast iron, I won’t bore you. All you need to know is that these extremely stylish and well-made pots distribute heat like a dream. You can stick them on the stovetop, in a fire, in the oven, in a slow-cook bag - whatever you fancy. The Honey Pot will cook meat to the point of falling off the bone every time.

Before the Honey Pot, I used to roast whole chickens in a simple enamel dish. Enamel is fine, but it doesn’t hold a candle to cast iron. My chicken always turned out fine but, with the Honey Pot, I have made the most perfect roast chicken of my life.

If you haven’t experienced the privilege of cooking and eating a whole roast chicken, I invite you to try it. It is one of life’s greatest pleasures to cook a whole bird and strip the carcass of hot, juicy meat, burning your fingers and sneaking crispy bits. That is the chef’s delight.

Cooking the chicken whole can be extremely cost-effective and much healthier and more delicious than buying a rotisserie chicken. It’s also surprisingly easy. I’ll tell you how to do it.

beautiful kitchen counters

You will need:

  • A whole free-range chicken

  • One lemon

  • A bunch of fresh thyme

  • Salt

  • A head of garlic

  • Butter/oil

How to roast the perfect chicken:

  1. If you want tender meat and crispy skin, you have to prep your chicken. This is non-negotiable. Give your chicken a quick shower and pat dry with a towel. Now, salt the entire bird generously. Leave covered in the fridge overnight or, if you’re pressed for time, for at least an hour.

  2. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Take your roasting dish (we’re big fans of a cast-iron casserole over here, but any dish will do) and stick it in the oven to preheat it.

  3. Take your salted chicken out of the fridge. Cut the lemon in half, stab it with a fork a few times, and stuff it into the cavity of the chicken along with a generous handful of thyme stalks and a head of garlic sliced in half. Trust me, it will all fit.

  4. Melt some butter or oil in your hot roasting dish. Rub the chicken down with some oil or melted butter before placing it gently in the pan. Blow a kiss to the bonny old bird.

  5. Put it in the oven for about an hour. Halfway through, take it out and brush the skin again with some melted butter or oil. This will ensure that that chicken skin is crisp and tasty.

  6. Take it out when it’s golden on the outside, or after an hour of cooking. You don’t want to overcook it - dry chicken is a sin!

When I roast a whole chicken this way, the meat falls off the bone like butter off a hot knife. The skin is crispy, golden, and perfectly seasoned, and the meat is infused with a citrusy kick of lemon and thyme.

I believe in using the whole chicken and, when I roast a bird, it’s usually to make chicken soup.



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