A Simple Roast Chicken

Thursday 14 September 2017

Roast chicken.  It has to be a favourite meal, and has become even more so since I decided I was only ever going to buy organic, free range, corn-fed chicken.  Of course with there only being two of us in this house, the cost of it doesn't matter all that much because even a small chicken is going to go a long way, but with proper planning, any chicken can go a long way, so it really will pay for itself in the long run, and the flavour really is much better than ordinary chicken.  Seriously.

I would rather eat chicken a little less often and have it taste like a chicken should taste.  This is a decision we both made together and one we have not regretted.  This chicken was delicious.  It was the first time I have roasted a free range, organic, corn-fed chicken and the taste was fabulous.

The meat was succulent and flavourful.  It is quite obvious to me that chickens that are allowed to play and run around just taste better.  I don't want to eat chicken that has been fed other chickens . . .  I want to eat chicken that has been fed a grain based/vegetarian diet . . .  not pumped full of hormones and anti-biotics.

I gave it a very simple treatment.  I really did want to know for sure if this was going to taste better and if it would be worth the added expense.  It got a simple rub of herbs and butter, with a bit of lemon . . .  and then I stuffed it with an onion, rolled in those same herbs, the spend lemon and a knob of butter.
It was roasted in a moderate oven for a time, lightly covered and basted every 20 minutes or so, and then finally roasted uncovered so that it could brown to a lovely golden brown.  We were so happy with the results. We had a dinner of tender flavourful chicken, perfectly cooked and a gravy that was to die for.  You can't lose.   Plus there were leftovers, for another dish and of course bones for a tasty and healthy chicken soup.

*A Simple Roast Chicken*
Serves 4 
Moist and delicious and infused with lovely herb flavours.  It is flavoured from the inside out with a herb rolled onion and a lemon, along with  knob of butter.  More herbs are rubbed on the outside.  It's pretty special and yet, so simple to make. 

1 5-pound free range corn fed organic chicken
2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 TBS butter, softened
1 large free range unwaxed lemon
1 small onion

 Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Have ready a roasting dish large enough to hold the chicken with ample room around the sides.

Mix together the salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary, and onion and garlic powders.  Peel the onion and cut it in half.  Roll it in the spice mixture and set aside.  Rub the chicken all over with 2 TBS of the the butter. Rub the remainig herb mixture over the entirety of the chicken.  Place in the roasting dish. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze it over all. Reserve the lemon halves.  Place the remaining TBS of butter into the cavity of the chicken.  Stuff in half the onion, half the lemon, half the onion and then finally the remaining half of the lemon.  Cover lightly with aluminium foil and then place into the heated oven. Roast covered for 1 hour, basting every 20 minutes or so.  At the end of that time, uncover and roast for a further 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife.  Remove from the pan to a heated platter, lightly tent with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes while you make gravy if you want gravy.

Cut into slices to serve, along with any vegetables you have prepared and gravy, if desired. 

Note - to make gravy.  Pour all of the juices into a measuring jug.  Remove 2 TBS of the fat to a saucepan and discard the rest.  Add some boiling water to the roasting tin and scrap up any sticky bits and add to the remaining juices in the measuring jug.  You should have 450ml or 2 cups.  Heat the fat in the saucepan.  Whisk in 2 TBS of plain flour.  Cook, stirring for 2 minutes.  Whisk in the reserved juices/water, whisking constantly and cooking until the mixture bubbles and thickens.  Cook for several minutes to cook out any flour taste.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

I made a delicious Sage & Onion Bread Stuffing to serve with it.  We love this homemade stuffing! You can't get much better than sage and onion!

*Sage & Onion Stuffing*
Makes 8 servings

One word for this. Perfect. 

450g onions, peeled and chopped (1 pound)
300ml water (1 1/3 cups)
75g butter, melted, plus extra for buttering the dish (1/3 cup)
1 TBS chopped fresh sage leaves
225g fresh soft white bread crumbs (8 slices, 1/2 pound)
salt and black pepper to taste 

Place the chopped onion into a saucepan.  Cover with the water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.  Drain very well.  Stir in the butter and the remaining ingredients, tossing to combine and seasoning to taste.  Allow to cool completely if you are using it to stuff a bird.  If you are cooking it separately.  Place into a buttered dish.  Dot butter over the top.  Cover and bake in a 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4 oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for a further 10 minutes to crisp up the top if desired. 

Note - One potato mashed can be stirred into the bread crumbs along with the onion and then you have Bread, Sage & Onion Stuffing.  This is as my mother always made it.

Of course you can use this method to roast a normal ordinary chicken and it will still taste good.  But I have to say that the cornfed one we had was heavenly. Tune in tomorrow to see what I made with the leftovers!  Bon Appetit!


  1. Your method sounds great, and we are much alike in the way we roast chicken. I buy the organic, free range birds as well. The only problem I've ever had is with organic beef...if was terrible but maybe I didn't try enough sources.

    I love your dressing, and yes, we can do a lot with the leftovers as it's also just me and my husband.

    Excellent recipe, Marie!


    1. Thanks very much Jane! I love this dressing. If you have someone stop by unplanned, you can just throw in some mashed potato and stretch the dressing a bit and it's gorgeous as well. I have never had organic beef yet, but we don't eat a lot of red meat. I love the free range, organic corn fed chicken. It tastes like a chicken should taste! xo

  2. Thank you for these two recipes. Yummy!

    1. You're very welcome Willow! I hope you make them and enjoy! xo


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