Roast Chicken Recipes and Pot-Roast Chicken Recipes

Roast Chicken Recipes... passed down in families and bringing back memories of Sunday lunch, family time, home cooked food and chicken wings big enough to feed an adult.

Here you will find:

Times have changed since one chicken wing was large enough to feed an adult, but roast chicken is still a winner. Not only is it cheaper per kilogram or pound than chicken portion or deboned chicken, there are also normally left-overs, ideal for sandwiches, salads and soups.

The inexperienced cook will say, that is all great, but how do I turn that whole chicken into a meal. Read on for common questions and answers.

How do I prepare a chicken for roasting?

If the chicken was sold with the giblets, these are normally in a plastic packet in the body cavity, so start by checking the body cavity and remove the giblets.

Check the chicken to see of it has any parts of the feather quills left behind and remove.

Wash the chicken and pat it dry with some paper toweling.

On top part of the parson's nose is an oil gland that should be cut out with a sharp knife.

The simplest roast chicken is done by rubbing the chicken on the outside with some softened butter and then to add some salt and pepper. Also rub the inside of the body cavity with salt and pepper.

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How long does it take for a chicken to roast?

It is unfortunately a difficult question to answer as it all depends on the type of oven, how hot the oven is, how big the chicken is, if it has been trussed or not and whether it has been stuffed or not.

There are also two ways of roasting a chicken:

  • The first is the high heat method, where the chicken is initially roasted at a very high temperature to to seal it and then the heat is turned down for the rest of the roasting time.

    Using the high heat method of roasting a chicken, use the following rule of thumb to determine the cooking time:
    For a chicken weighing 500g - 3.5 kg (1 - 7 pounds) allow for 30 minutes at 220°C (425 °F) and then add 10 minutes for each 500g (1 pound) at 180°C. (350°F)

  • The second moderate heat method of roasting a chicken uses a moderately slow oven temperature setting of 160°C (325°F). The oven is pre-heated and the chicken is roasted at a constant heat setting.

    Using this method you will need about 25 minutes per 500g (1 pound)

  • A poussin (spring chicken) is generally roasted in a hot oven. So here you should allow for 20 minutes per 500g (1 pound) at 220°C (425°F)

Now if the chicken is stuffed you need to allow for 15 - 20 minutes extra for a chicken up to 1.7 kg (3 pounds 12 ounces) and 30 - 45 minutes for a chicken of 1.8 - 4.5kg (4 - 10 pounds)

For a chicken that is trussed you need to allow for at least 10 extra minutes.

Then there are some special considerations for when roasting a chicken a fan oven also sometimes called a convection oven. These apply to true fan ovens which have a heating element around the fan behind the rear panel. You need to lower the temperature by 20 - 25°C (40-50°F). These ovens also cook the food much faster (around 25% faster). This will reduce the cooking time by about 10 minutes for each hour.

(For years I had always wondered why my baked good never came out quite right in a fan oven. Now I know!)

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How do I know if a roast chicken is done?

Never serve chicken under-cooked as it can be contaminated with salmonella bacteria which can cause food poisoning. Salmonella is killed by heat but can survive if the chicken is under-cooked.

First of all look at the chicken. The skin should be golden brown.

Next would be to move the leg. When the roast chicken is done, the leg should move easily in the joints.

Tilt the whole bird so that the juices in the cavity run out. These juices should be clear.

Push a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices that run out are pink, roast the chicken for longer until the juices run clear.

The last method is to check with a meat thermometer:

  • The thickest part of the thigh (but not against the bone) should be at a temperature of 80°C-83°C (175°F-180°F).
  • The breast should give a temperature reading of 77°C-80°C (170°F-175°F)

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Should I cover a roast chicken?

Yes, you can and I sometimes do it when roasting the chicken with vegetables. It retains the moisture making the chicken really succulent and vegetables also do not dry out. The chicken can be browned by roasting it uncovered for the last 15 to 20 minutes.

Here you ae going for a succulent, moist roast more than for the crisp skin effect.

How do I carve a roast chicken?

Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes after removing it from the oven.

Carve the chicken as follows:

Place the chicken on its back. Cut off both of the chicken's legs first.

Cut each leg into a thigh and drumstick portion by holding the leg in position and using a sharp knife the sever the thigh joint.

Remove both wings.

Carve the meat from the breast downwards. The slices can be thin or thick as you prefer

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Should I seal (brown) the chicken before roasting it?

You can if you want to as it will make the skin crispy and retain moisture. It might be easier to put the chicken into a hot oven (220°C, 425°F) for the first 30 minutes of roasting and then to turn down the heat.

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How do I get a really crisp skin when roasting a chicken?

Leave the chicken uncovered in the fridge for a few hours so that the skin dries out before roasting.

Also roast the chicken uncovered on a rack over a roasting tin or on a rotisserie. This will allow the heat to circulate around the chicken and make the skin crispy.

Seal the chicken before roasting it.

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What is larding and barding and how does it improve a roast chicken?

Both terms involve adding fat to the chicken and this is done to make the chicken more succulent. If the larding or barding is done with something like streaky bacon, it will also add extra flavour to the chicken.

Barding means that strips of fat or streaky bacon are laid over the chicken.

Larding means that the strips are actually inserted into the chicken flesh. This is done with a larding needle.

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How do I prevent the breast meat from drying out?

  • The first method will be to put some softened butter under the skin and to spread it over the breast meat.

  • You lard the breast meat. This is done with a larding needle and strips of pork fat are inserted into the breast meat.

  • You can bard the breast meatthat is to cover it with streaky bacon or strips of pork fat.

  • Cover the breast meat with tin foil for part of the roasting time.

  • Roast the chicken breast side down for half the cooking time and then turn it over for the rest of the cooking time. The theory behind this method is that the juices will gather in the breast meat.

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Which herbs can I use with roast chicken?

Choose from parsley, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, origanum, sage, tarragon and bay leaf.

Herbs can be tied together in a bouquet garni for pot-roast, placed in the body cavity for a normal roast, rubbed onto the skin, placed under the skin or added to the stuffing.

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Which spices can be used with roast chicken?

My mother always makes roast chicken with a few cloves and lemon, a very simple but tasty combination.

Other common choices are cinnamon, all spice, cumin, fennel, star anise and pepper of course, which will bring us to the hot spices like ginger, chili and peri-peri.

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What does it mean “to truss” a chicken and why do it?

To truss a chicken is to tie the legs and wings to the body. When done for a normal roast chicken this simple gives the chicken a neat shape so that it will present well on the table.

When a chicken is cooked on a rotisserie, tying the chicken becomes far more important as it stops the wings from being over cooked.

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Can I brine a chicken?

Yes very much so. Brining a chicken is a wonderful way of favouring the chicken all the way through

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How do I pot roast a chicken?

There are two methods of doing this:

The first and easiest is to do it in the oven like a casserole.

The chicken is first browned on the stove top and then the casserole pot is closed and the rest of the cooking takes place in the oven.

Using the second method, all the cooking is done on the stove top and is ideal if you do not have access to an oven.

The chicken is first browned all over, and is then cooked on each side in a bit of liquid by turning it and adding small amounts of liquid.

Although it involves a lot of baby-sitting the pot-roast, the results are well worth it.

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How do I roast a chicken on a rotisserie?

The chicken needs to be either seasoned, brined or marinated before it is put onto the rotisserie.

Then the chicken needs to be secured onto the rotisserie so that it is as balanced as possible and with the wings and drum sticks tucked in so that these are not over cooked. The chicken needs to be basted ever so often during the cooking process.

See Rotisserie Chicken Recipes for more details.

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How do I cook a whole chicken on the barbecue?

Unless you are doing it on a rotisserie over the barbecue, or in a kettle barbecue cooker, the chicken will have to be spatchcocked (butterflied). The chicken is then seasoned, brined or marinated before it is cooked.

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How do I stuff a chicken and what is used for stuffing?

Once the stuffing has been prepared according to the recipe, it can be inserted into the body cavity. The chicken can then either be trussed or left as it is.

Most stuffing will expand as the chicken roasts , so do not pack the stuffing too tightly. The neck cavity can also be filled with stuffing or the stuffing can be inserted under the skin of the chicken.

Stuffing that binds together can be rolled into balls and added to the pan juices for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Stuffing adds moisture and flavour to the chicken. The simplest stuffing is a lemon inserted into the body cavity, other common ingredients are bread crumbs, grains like rice or cous cous, various meats like sausage meat, veal, ham and bacon, herbs and spices, garlic, onion. The list is almost never ending and is only limited by the imagination and what is palatable.

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What can I make with left over roast chicken?

Firstly consider the flavour of the roast chicken. If it is rather neutral there is much more you can do with it, if the flavour is very distinctive the options become more limited.

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Lemon and/or Herb Roast Chicken Recipes

Hot and/or Spicy Roast Chicken Recipes

Spatchcocked or Butterflied Roast Chicken Recipes

Pot-Roast Chicken Recipes

Marinated Roast Chicken Recipes

Deboned Roast Chicken Recipes

Rotisserie (spit-roast) Roast Chicken Recipes

Recipes for roasting Chicken Portions

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