How to Roast a Chicken

Article by: Allrecipes  |  Picture by: Allrecipes
How to Roast a Chicken
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Roast Chicken is the perfect centrepiece for a special event whether it's Christmas or a weekend dinner or lunch. Roasting a whole chicken takes longer than other methods of cooking chicken, but it has very little preparation time and the results are worth it.

Preparation
If your chicken is frozen always defrost it in the fridge - not at room temperature - on a large plate or in a baking tray. Allow 12 hours for the chicken to fully thaw and then cook it with 24 hours after that.
Safety when handling raw chicken
Wash your hands well before beginning. Always wash any cutting boards, plates or kitchen knives or utensils you have used when preparing raw chicken immediately after use. This way the utensils and boards used for raw chicken won't come into contact with any other foods.
Build on the Natural Flavour
A chicken roasted with nothing but salt, pepper and butter is tasty, but it's also easy to build on these flavours.
Always stuff the chicken or at least add sprigs of herbs into the chicken cavity along with quartered onions and/or cloves of garlic. Wedges of lemons or oranges stuffed into the cavity will also add extra quick flavour to your chicken.
Rubs are also another flavour booster. Rub the outside of the skin with a mix of salt and dried herbs or chop up fresh herbs and tuck them under the chicken's skin along with a few knobs of butter.
Check out these stuffing recipes and chicken rub ideas.
Leave the Skin On
Crispy, fragrant roast chicken skin is absolutely delicious. However, because it contains a lot of fat many people remove it in order to avoid the extra kilojoules.
Whether you choose to eat it or discard it, always leave the skin on during roasting, as it holds in moisture and prevents the meat from drying out.
Trussing
Trussing your chook - that is, tying it with kitchen string to keep the legs close to the body - is not essential but it does make the chicken slightly easier to handle, and it helps hold in the stuffing.
To truss a chicken, cut about a metre of unwaxed cooking string.
  • Lay the chicken on a clean surface with the breast facing up.
  • Hold one end of the string in each hand, and loop the centre of the string underneath the chicken's tail.
  • Catch the ends of the legs inside the string, then cross the string over the chicken's breast, making an X.
  • Loop the string under and around the wings, then tie the string snugly in a knot across the middle of the breast. Make sure that the ends of the wings are tucked in.
Use a Roasting Rack
Again, this is not essential but a raised roasting rack set over the baking tray or roasting pan will help the chicken cook more evenly, since the air can circulate freely. Also, the chicken won't be sitting in its own fat, which will give you crispier skin. For easier cleanup, you can line the tray with alfoil.
Cook Times
As a guide, plan to cook the chicken for 30 mins per 500g in a normal oven (180 degrees C) After the chicken has cooked for the appropriate amount of time, check if it is done by sticking a skewer into the meatiest part of the chicken – the thigh. If the juices run clear it is ready to take out of the oven.
Resting Time
When you remove the chicken from the oven, cover it loosely with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This redistributes the juices and results in moister chicken.
Storage
Leftover cut-up cooked chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days. Cooked chicken should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Leftover Chicken
On Christmas night or on Boxing Day snack on a chicken salad or chicken sandwiches. Or whip up a leftover chicken frittata, some chicken fried rice, a potato bake with chicken or some chicken pasties to eat while watching the cricket.
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