The Simplest Roast Chicken
Roasting a chicken could not be more straightforward. Whether you follow the packet instructions or how your mother taught you, it will go something like this: preheat the oven, marinate the bird, roast for said time, rest and carve. Or so I thought…
What I knew about roasting chickens was challenged after buying Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook. Intrigued, I leafed through the pages and stopped on Barbara Kafka’s Simplest Roast Chicken. A recipe for simple roast chicken? I wondered. What’s so genius about that?
The recipe prescribes roasting your chicken at a very high-heat, much higher than the 160 (fan) / 180 (no-fan) degree Celsius supermarket packaging recommendations. The high-heat method was the basis of Mrs Kafka’s 1995 book Roasting. So I give it a try.
I marinate my bird simply, massaging it with olive oil and stuffing it with some garlic and lemon before giving a good all-over crack of salt and pepper. I place it into the oven, pre-heated to 200 (fan) / 220 (no fan) legs first as suggested, giving it a shake half-way through to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
My bird was ready in 1 hour, instead of the usual 1 hour and 40 minutes. Depending on the size of your bird, you’ll need to adjust that time up or down. It looked nothing like the slow-cooked, watery Tesco chicken I was used to. Instead, my Tesco chick had transformed into a rotisserie-worthy, perfectly roasted chicken. See for yourself.
Now I always roast my chickens at nothing less than 200 degrees, but like to play around with the marinade every now and then. I’m a bit obsessed with garam masala and smoked paprika, in combination. I find it smells and tastes beautiful rubbed all over your chicken before roasting.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before roasting to reach room temperature
- Be careful with oil splashing, use a deep roasting dish to prevent dirtying the oven
- Always make sure juices run clear before eating
- Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving