There is nothing more comforting and homely than a Sunday roast dinner. Just the thought of it invokes nostalgia… The delectable smell of herbs wafting through the kitchen as you eagerly awaited the chicken to cook, the light-hearted laughter and bona fide conversation as everyone passed around the plates overflowing with autumn tones of roast vegetables. This recipe is everything a roast chicken should be; golden skin with tender, flavourful meat underneath.
Golden Roast Chicken
Serves 4 (best prepared a day ahead, however can be done same day)
- 1.2 to 1.6kg free-range chicken
- 4 lemons
- at least 2 tbsp of ground sea salt (although I use lots more – the key to a tasty bird)
- small handful fresh sage leaves
- small handful fresh tarragon leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp butter
- olive oil
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels until you can’t see or feel anymore moisture (this is what gives the bird that classic crispy skin). Place in a medium sized bowl.
- Using your fingers, loosen the skin covering the breast and thigh from the meat underneath so that you’re left with two cavities to stuff. Place 1 tbsp of the butter under each cavity, followed by the minced garlic, and a few sage and tarragon leaves.
- Vigorously season the bird with ground salt and sea salt flakes – trust me on this one, do not skip on the salt. Place a handful of sage leaves on and around the chicken, followed by tarragon leaves.
- Cut 2 of the lemons in half and squeeze the juice over the chicken, making sure to catch the seeds in your hand while squeezing. Cover with cling wrap and leave in the fridge for up to 24 hours for it to marinate.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Once ready to cook, take the bird out of the fridge and let it sit for half an hour to ensure even cooking throughout. Place chicken in a deep roasting pan, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over it. Put the juiced pieces into the pan with the chicken, as well as the last lemon (don’t squeeze the juice out of this one). Sprinkle more salt onto the skin (more, yes you read that right) and put a drizzle of olive oil over it.
- Cook the chicken for 1 and a 1/2 hours to 2, until the skin is golden, crispy and the juices run clear when tested with a skewer. Serve with a side of roast vegetables (potatoes that have been lightly boiled then roasted in duck fat are my favourite).