There’s nothing like a homemade roast chicken to bring a family together around the Sunday dinner table. And the beauty of cooking a whole chicken is that you ’ll have leftovers for more meals later in the week: Shred the meat into stir-fries or sandwiches or boil up the carcass for a wholesome chicken soup!
The perfect roast chicken
This reliable recipe never fails to deliver tasty, juicy meat and crispy skin as the chicken is flavoured from the inside out by the delicious lemon and thyme stuffing while roasting in the oven.
Lemon and thyme stuffing tips
The stuffing can even be made up to 48 hours ahead and chilled immediately. Remove from the fridge just before cooking. And if you double the stuffing a cook some of the extra in the the baking dish alongside the chicken chicken.
When you mix this with the stuffing from the roast chicken, you’ll end up with some crunchy bits inbetween the stuffing that has been flavoured by the chicken itself. Delicious!
Roast chicken heaven: Basting and that golden, crispy skin
Rubbing lemon and butter all over a whole chicken before roasting creates super juicy, flavourful meat and crisp golden skin. Smoothing butter under the chicken’s skin helps to baste the white meat, keeping it juicy while adding flavour.
Working from the neck end, insert your fingers underneath the skin that covers the breast meat. Ease it gently away from the flesh to create a pocket. Push knobs of butter deep into the pocket, then smooth it evenly over the surface with your fingers.
How do you know when the chicken is done?
If you do not have a meat thermometer, one can stab a knife under the drumstick near the thigh to check if the chicken is done. If the juices run clear, your chicken is ready!
Remove from the oven, loosely cover with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Serve with homemade gravy and simple sides such as roasted or mashed potatoes, baby carrots and braised greens.
Make your own homemade gravy
- To make the gravy, remove the excess fat from the roasting pan.
- Place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth and slightly browned.
- Gradually add the stock, whisking constantly and returning the mixture to a simmer between additions to prevent lumps forming.
- Simmer, whisking often, for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened and smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper, then strain into a jug.
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 lemon cut into four pieces
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tbsp salt
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ⅓ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp Two tablespoons melted butter (you can add more butter if needed)
- slices brown or white bread (cubed)
- 1 onion – chopped finely
- 1 egg
- Juice of one lemon
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together all the above ingredients and set aside.
- Rinse the chicken and remove the giblet bag, pad dry with a paper towel and place on a plate.
- Drizzle the lemon over the chicken.
- Season the chicken by using your hands to rub it all over the skin. Add extra pieces of butter under the skin to moisten the meat.
- Mix the stuffing well and place it inside the cavity of the chicken. Use some kitchen twine to tie the legs together.
- Place it in a baking dish or a cast-iron skillet and bake uncovered at 190°C / 375°F for about 90 minutes.
- The chicken should be crispy on the outside while still being tender and juicy on the inside.
- When chicken is done, it should be cooked through. You can check with a meat thermometer: It should be 73°C /165°F.