This post is to celebrate our first batch of free range broilers moving on to their delicious destiny. My favourite way to eat chicken is a good old fashioned roast with all of the fixings. This simple recipe gives you tender juicy breast meat and perfectly browned skin. Enjoy with stuffing, home-made gravy, roasted root vegetables, simmered kale with bacon, and so on…
- whole free range chicken from Windfall Farm
- 3-6 cloves of minced locally grown garlic
- handful of fresh locally grown herbs (e.g., oregano, thyme, rosemary), minced
- lump of softened salted Irish butter
- whole lemon
- Irish sea salt
- meat thermometer with a probe (recommended)
20-30 minutes prep
1.5-2 hours roasting
Preheat your oven to 190 C.
If your chicken is frozen, defrost it in the fridge overnight. At least one hour before you plan to put it in the oven (or more, if not completely defrosted), prep it on a cutting board, sheet pan, or the counter top.
To prep, use a fork or your fingers to combine the minced herbs with the butter. Run your fingers between the breast skin and meat to separate the connective tissue. Push the herbed butter under the breast skin, and massage the outside of the skin to spread the butter evenly over the meat. This brings in flavor to the more neutral breast meat and also helps to retain moisture.
Liberally sprinkle salt over the whole skin of the chicken. This will help to brown the skin, since the salt will pull moisture out.
Pierce the lemon several times, and push into the cavity of the chicken so that it blocks the entrance. This helps to keep moisture from leaving the chicken.
I recommend trussing your chicken- it makes a better roast, is easy, and helps you convince yourself that you are a serious cook. See below for a demo.
After prepping your chicken, allow it to rest for around an hour, until it approaches room temperature. When ready, place the chicken in a casserole dish or roasting pan (preferably with a rack). I recommend using a meat thermometer and inserting the probe into the thickest portion of the thigh (if you hit the bone, pull back slightly).
Roast the chicken until the thermometer reads 70C, about 1.5-2 hours. Without a thermometer, pierce the thigh meat to see if the juice runs clear, or wiggle a leg to see if the joint is loose. If not, return to the oven for another 15 minutes and check again.
If the skin browns too early, tent a sheet of aluminum foil to cover the top. If it does not brown sufficiently, turn on your convection setting, and/or max out the oven temperature for a few minutes.
Once the chicken reaches the target temperature allow it to rest out of the oven for 20-30 minutes. This will increase the internal temperature of the chicken around 5 degrees C, while lowering the temperature of the hottest parts. If you cut into meat before it has rested, excess juice runs out, resulting in a less juicy bite. Tent a sheet of aluminum foil over the top of the bird to keep the chicken from cooling down too rapidly.
Carve and enjoy!
Delicious with a side of crispy roast veg and stuffing balls. Recipe to come…
Trussing your chicken (tying it up to hold the wings and legs against the body) isn’t absolutely necessary, but it helps cook your bird more evenly.