Basic Roast Chicken

Monday 23 January 2017

I don't think there is  dish on earth that exemplifies home sweet home any better than a delicious roasted chicken.   We love it in this house and we don't have it near often enough.  Not only is it delicious, but its also economical as you are sure, with careful planning, to get at least three meals for your family from any good sized chicken.

This week I wanted to begin the week by showing you a simple recipe for a really delicious roast chicken and then some tasty ideas for using the leftovers on two consecutive days.  I have been trying to teach my daughter about economy and making the food dollar stretch and this is a part of that.

Chicken is a very affordable meat these days.  Much more so than when I was growing up.  We didn't often have a chicken at all, and when we did it was a real treat!  I remember reading a book when I was about fourteen years old, called "Chicken Every Sunday," by Rosemary Taylor.  It was about a girls reminiscences of her mother's boarding house. I can remember thinking how nice it would be to have a Roast Chicken dinner every Sunday!  I was ever the gourmet!

A roast chicken has to be one of the most simple things going and to be honest it is all about temperature and timing.  You don't have to do very much to it really, just bang it into a roasting tin, and roast it, with regular basting and you are guaranteed to have a tasty bird.   If you can afford a free range corn fed bird then you are in for a real treat, but even if you can't, you are still in for a tasty meal.

It is nice however if you can add a few other flavours to the mix.  Thyme, garlic and lemon have to be the essence of a really flavourful roast chicken.  And a bit of butter.  I like to put a bit under the skin of the breast prior to roasting and another tasty bit inside.  It makes for a really delicious bird.

With that and some lemon, sliced and placed beneath the bird with another halved, squeezed over top and the spent lemons throw inside, along with some sprigs of time and some garlic, salt and black pepper you are guaranteed a really delicious bird indeed.  And tis just so simple.

*Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken*
Serves 4


Nothing is more comforting than a delicious dinner of Roast Chicken and vegetables. Crisp skin on the outside, and succulent, flavourful, tender and juicy meat on the inside. This is my way of achieving just that. Lemon and Garlic bring out the best in chicken. The three just go together like peas and carrots!

1 medium sized roasting chicken, about 2 kg in weight
(2 kg is about 5 pounds)
2 unwaxed lemons
3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3 TBS butter
3 sprigs of thyme
Sea Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
A drizzle of olive oil 

Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Take one of the lemons and slice very thinly. Place half of the slices in the bottom of a heavy roasting pan. Set aside while you prepare the chicken.

Wash the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Season it well inside with salt and pepper. Loosen the skin over the chicken breasts with your fingers, being very careful not to tear it. Push a  1 TBS of butter and a sprig of thyme under the skin on each half. Cut the other lemon in half.  Squeeze the juice over the chicken and then place the halves into the chicken cavity, along with the last TBS of butter and a sprig of thyme and the garlic. Place the whole chicken on top of the sliced lemon in the roasting pan. Dust the whole thing with some salt and pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. Place in the heated oven.


 Roast, uncovered for approximately 45 minutes per kg (2 1/2 pounds), or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Baste the chicken every fifteen minutes after the first half hour has passed with the pan juices.

Remove from the oven and let it sit to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. If you wish you can skim off all the fat from the pan and make a delicious gravy with the juices that are left behind.

To make a gravy: Skim off all the fat from the pan, except for about 2 TBS. Add several TBS of flour to the remaining drippings and any juices from the chicken. Stir until smooth, and cook over medium heat for about a minute. Slowly pour in 2 cups of heated chicken stock, stirring until it is thickened and smooth. Taste for seasoning. Serve.

I like to serve it with some creamy mashed potatoes and vegetables on the side, which depend on what I have in the fridge.  This time it was swede and carrots and I also made some of my stuffing to go along with it.   I just used this recipe and baked it in a dish along side of the chicken for the last half hour of baking.  Bon Appetit!


  1. HI, Im not sure about washing the chicken.... it can splash and spread Samonella and E-COLI around the kitchen. otherwise it sounds great

    1. This is very true. I basically just rinse my chicken in the sink and I do it very carefully. I always sanitise my sink, countertop and backsplash afterwards.

  2. WHat a beautiful chicken Marie..plump and perfect.
    I have to confess..since we have Costco..15 mins up the most ..we have been buying the already cooked one..I can get 3 meals out of :)The first night as is..then a laking or pot pie..or salad etc:)Soup..stock..
    When I work w/ breasts and thighs etc..that is when the bleach works.I sanitize all..and wear gloves lol.

    1. Oh, I do treat us to a rotisserie chicken every now and again also Monique! They are always so tender and juicy. Oh, I use bleach always when dealing with chicken. I like to wear the disposable gloves like they wear in the medical field. The latex ones. You can buy a big box of them at Bookers. You can't be too careful! xo

  3. I really make my chicken stretch. I usually just buy a rotisserie one. When I bring it home, I put it in a small cast iron skillet to heat it back up properly and crisp the skin. Then we eat the leg quarters (thigh and drum) for supper. I take the breast and use half to make chicken salad and the other half in some recipe - enchiladas or soup or pot pie, a casserole. I strip the carcass down of all the meat. That is three meals. Then I freeze the carcass and when I have a rainy day I make stock, which I then freeze. We get at least 2 quarts of stock from one carcass, so that is at least another two meals. I will have to try your recipe, the lemon would be lovely in stock!

    1. You are a woman after my own heart Raquel! This is the way I cook also! I also always have cooked chicken frozen and ready to use in a a pinch as well! xo

    2. PS - I love your idea of crisping it up and reaheating it in a skillet once you get it home. Thanks!


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