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Recipe: Roast chicken

Updated Saturday, 30th April 2005

Try out our recipe from the Ever Wondered About Food series

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Serves 4


Roasted chicken

  • 1.4 kg (3 lb) free-range chicken
  • 50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp rock salt
  • 3–4 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1–2 tbsp water


  • 1.2 litres (42 fl. oz/ 2 pints) chicken stock
  • 1/2 garlic bulb
  • sprig of rosemary
  • sprig of thyme


To roast the chicken

Note: Generally, allow 35–45 minutes cooking time per kilogram of chicken (15–20mins per lb).

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6.
  2. Prepare the chicken by removing the innards, cutting off the wing tips, then trussing it firmly with string. Then smear the skin with butter, and sprinkle with rock salt and thyme.
  3. Sit the chicken on top of the wing tips in a roasting tray, and place in the hot oven.
  4. Regularly baste the chicken during cooking – use 1–2 tbsp of water for the first baste.
  5. Add the rosemary, thyme and garlic to the stock and leave to infuse.
  6. The chicken should be cooked after approx. 1.5 hours. Push a roasting fork into the thigh to see if the juices run clear. (The temperature of the leg meat should be at least 80ºC.) Remove the chicken from the tin, leaving it to rest for 30 minutes before serving.

To make the gravy

  1. Remove 3/4 of the fat lying on the surface of the cooking juices in the roasting tin. Keep the wing tips in with the juices.
  2. Scrape the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove the brown bits remaining. Bring this to a simmer, ladling in a tbsp of the stock to deglaze the pan. Gradually add the rest of the stock. Continue to simmer.
  3. Remove the legs and breasts from the chicken. Cut the breasts into slices and keep warm.
  4. Crush the chicken carcass and add it to the gravy, simmering for another 8–10 minutes until it thickens slightly – it should be more like a ‘juice’ than a gravy.
  5. Sieve the gravy and serve with the chicken.




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