Hands up if you want a homely, filling, easy meal that can feed a whole family!
What better option is there than a zesty, herb-stuffed roast chicken, fresh from the oven, with tender fragrant meat falling off the bone at the gentlest poke of a fork?
I’ve cooked this twice for my family in the past week using a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef and both occasions have gone without mishap. It’s a simple, foolproof method that requires very little delicate work.
Prep time: About 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
A roasting tray
1 free-range chicken – I used a small chicken but you can buy large depending on how many people you’re feeding
salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 small handfuls of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, marjoram) – Unfortunately I don’t have a herb garden so I use Gourmet Garden fresh herbs in a tube. I only used basil and parsley for this recipe and it tasted great.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, halved
4 bay leaves, torn – I didn’t have any bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary – I used about 5 sprigs of rosemary to season both the outside and inside of the chicken
Preheat oven and roasting tray to 225 degrees Celsius.
1. Wash chicken inside and out and pat as dry as possible with paper towel.
2. Rub the cavity with salt.
3. Now comes the bit where you season the breast of the chicken. You have to stuff a whole bunch of herbs down the front of the chicken. Carefully grab the skin at the tip of the chicken breasts, making sure it doesn’t rip, and pull up gently. With your other hand gently separate the skin from the meat of the breast. It’s connected by tissuey stuff, and you can either leave this attached in the middle and make two tunnels either side or you can try to cut away the middle. Sprinkle a little salt down the gaps you’ve made and push in the chopped herbs. Drizzle in a bit of olive oil.
4. If you’re stuffing the chicken, push the lemon, bay and rosemary into the cavity at this point.
5. Pull the skin of the chicken breast forward so none of the flesh is exposed, tuck the wings under and tie up the chicken with a piece of string as firmly as possible.
6. Slash across each thigh 3-4 times and rub in some leftover herbs — ideally you want the thigh meat to cook faster.
7. Rub a little olive oil all over the skin of the chicken and season generously with salt and pepper.
8. Remove hot tray from oven and add a little oil. Place chicken breast side down on tray and roast for 10 minutes. Then turn over and roast for 1 hour. (I let it roast for about 1 hour 15 minutes…depends on your oven. But I feel it’s safer to let your chicken go slightly overdone.)
9. You can roast potatoes or pumpkin in the tray with the chicken.
Voila! Your kitchen will start to fill with amazing smells and an hour later, the chicken comes out of the oven, crispy-skinned and tender. Serve with mashed potatoes and veggies.
(Adapted by Grace from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef.)