Roast chicken is the typical family meal which is made when the whole family or good friends are gathered together. Served with vegetables cooked in the sauce or boiled, I like giving a little bit of a twist by adding some lemon, aromatic herbs such as thyme or sage, and a little ginger and couscous spices to give a slightly oriental flavour to the meal.
How to make a perfect roast chicken? The skin must be crispy, the meat soft and full of flavour, the vegetables melt into the mouth.
Cooking time varies between 1h30 for a small chicken (1.5 kg) to 2h30 or 3h for a very large one (over 3kg). The chicken is cooked when the thighs can easily be removed from the body.
I prefer a a good quality free-ranging chicken, it makes all the difference! The meat and the sauce will have more flavour. The cooking time is a little bit longer in that case, because the meat is firmer.
The chicken’s preparation is essential for this recipe, all the ingredients and seasoning used will give its aroma to the meat and the sauce during the cooking. Therefore it is important to follow the tricks I mention below.
I like it because:
It is a simple meal and quick to prepare, tasty, the roast chicken is appreciated by all the generations, from the youngest children to their grandparents.
You can vary the recipe by changing the vegetables, spices and aromatic herbs according to the season, the occasion or your desires.
The remains can be used for another meal by making sandwiches, croquettes, salad …
- Fill the inside of the chicken with yoghurt, a freshly squeezed organic lemon juice and the two parts of the lemon you’ve squeezed. This will allow to get more sauce and the chicken’s meat to be softer. Also add as many spices and herbs inside the chicken as you like: rosemary, sage, ginger, salt, pepper, ground coriander etc. The chicken can have many spices and the sauce will be tastier.
- To enhance the meat’s flavour, you can slip small strips of lemon peel and ginger as well as aromatic herbs in different places outside of the chicken like the thighs, breasts or wings, between the skin and meat. In order to do that, perform a small cut of 1 cm on the skin with a knife, and gently separate it from the meat with your fingers, creating a small space to introduce these ingredients.
- As I love roast vegetables, I choose a very large dish for cooking the chicken, so that I can add a lot of them inside the dish. The vegetables have to be put in 1 hour and a half before the end of the cooking time, so that they will cook slowly in the chicken’s sauce and get very tender.
- Do not pre-heat the oven, it is one of the tricks to get a crispy skin and tender meat.
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 yoghurt
- 1 organic lemon
- 3 sage leaves, 4 rosemary sprigs , salt, pepper, ground coriander seeds …
- ginger (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 to 6 medium size potatoes
- 1 to 2 courgettes
- 1 red pepper
- 2 tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- Optional: 2 tablespoons cumin, couscous spices or any kind of oriental spices you fancy
Roast chicken with Mediterranean vegetables recipe
- Place the chicken in a large oven-proof dish. The larger the dish is, the more vegetables you can fill in.
- Cut 2 lemon peel strips and keep them aside. Fill the chicken with the juice of the lemon, the two parts of the lemon you’ve squeezed as well, the yoghurt, 3 rosemary sprigs, 2 sage leaves, salt, pepper, ground coriander seeds, a piece of ginger … The chicken can have many spices and the sauce will be tastier.
- Chop the remaining lemon peel into very small pieces, a little bit of ginger if you fancy, and what remains of sage and thyme. Place a little bit of these ingredients in different places outside of the chicken (thighs, breasts, wings), between the skin and meat, making a small cut of 1 cm in the skin with a knife, and gently separate it from the meat with your fingers, creating a small space to introduce those ingredients.
- To finish the preparation, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the chicken and knead gently to coat the entire skin. Season with salt, black pepper, ground coriander seeds...
- Turn the chicken upside down on its back and place the dish in the cold oven. Start the cooking at 340ºF (170ºC) for 45 minutes or one hour according to the chicken size.
- In the meantime, cut the potatoes, courgettes, red pepper and tomatoes into medium pieces. It is not necessary to peel these, except if you prefer.
- Remove the chicken from oven once the time is over, turn it over again and place the vegetables and the unpeeled garlic cloves around it in the dish. Soak the vegetables with the sauce of the chicken, and the chicken as well. If there is not much sauce, add a glass of water.
- Sprinkle the oriental spices over the vegetables.
- Place the chicken in the oven again for 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on its size, removing it once or twice to soak the vegetables and chicken with the sauce. The chicken is ready when the thighs can easily be removed from the body.
To serve the chicken, cut each part with a large knife, first the thighs and wings, then the breasts. Put the pieces in a large bowl, place the vegetables in another deep dish, and finally pour the sauce in a bowl apart. You can rectify the sauce with more spices before serving.