HomeFoodThe Perfect Roast Chicken

The Perfect Roast Chicken

More often than not this is the way I roast a chook, with a lovely herb butter stuffed beneath the skin, keeping the breast meat moist – to my mind, the wings that turn sticky, crunchy and golden are the best bits. I serve the roast chicken with chunky-cut roasted vegetables and a simple sauce made from the pan juices.

Time: 1.5 hours

Serves: 6


  • 2.4kg free-range chicken
  • herb butter
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Herby butter:

  • 200g softened butter
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Wipe the cavity of the chicken with a paper towel and trim away any excess fat.

Hold the chicken firmly with one hand, and with the other, carefully insert your fingers under the skin that covers the breast meat. Gradually ease the skin away from each of the two chicken breasts to form a gap, being very careful not to tear the skin. Take knobs of the herb butter and gently ease those into the gap, as far in as you can, until you’ve covered most of the breasts. Now pull the skin of the chicken breast gently forward, so that all of the meat is covered.

Stuff the lemon, onion, garlic and herbs inside the chicken’s cavity and season with salt and pepper. Tie the chicken legs to the parson’s nose as firmly as possible, then place the chicken on a rack inside a large roasting tin. Use your hands to rub the olive oil into the skin of the chicken and season generously with salt and pepper.

Roast the chicken in the centre of the oven for 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours, although this is more of a guideline really; the actual cooking time will vary depending on your oven. Every 20 minutes or so during roasting, remove the chicken from the oven (not forgetting to close the oven door, to maintain the cooking temperature) and tip the roasting tin on an angle, so that the buttery juices pool in the corner. Baste the chicken all over with these juices, being a little careful, as the hot fat may sizzle and spit.

The chicken is cooked when the internal core temperature reaches 72 degrees Celsius. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, insert a fork into the chicken’s cavity and lift the bird up. Tilt it downwards and if the juices run clear the bird is cooked; if they’re pink, then it needs more cooking.

Transfer the cooked chicken to a hot dish and leave it to rest for 15 minutes in a warm spot. To serve, use kitchen scissors to cut the bird into portions on the bone. To be honest, I’ll do this any time, rather than carving it up into neat slices. Chicken tastes so much better when you can pick it up in your fingers and really get stuck in.

Recipe taken from Meat by Adrian Richardson

Meat is a comprehensive cookbook with great tips and information on processing meat, the different cuts, preparation and storage methods and delicious recipes. Meat will illuminate and educate keen home cooks who would like to learn more about the meat we eat; where it comes from and the various ways to use different meats. It is also a solid collection of recipes, including sauces, stocks, and other meaty basics. The chapters are divided into meat type, making the book as user-friendly as possible. Chapter introductions, as well as short pieces at the beginning of each recipe, impart further knowledge with the friendly and knowledgeable character of author Adrian Richardson running through the narrative. Cooks will be delighted with the enticing recipes, such as twice-cooked pork belly with toffee crisp crackling and old favourites, such as steak and kidney pie. This cookbook will become a family favourite used again and again – referred to as much for the information as for the appealing recipes. With its warm and friendly yet modern design, it will inspire and give people the confidence to learn and try new things.

You can purchase Meat at cooked.com.

Published by Hardie Grant Books.

Related articles:
Stuffed Sweet Potato
Healthy Shepherd’s Pie
Greek Cheese Pies


Amelia Theodorakis
Amelia Theodorakishttps://ameliatheoodorakis.godaddysites.com/
A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.
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