Recipe: Perfect Roast Chicken

Knowing how to roast a chicken is an essential life skill. This step-by-step guide gives you the know-how to perfect that Sunday roast with confidence. 



1 corn fed, free range chicken (spend the money, it’s worth it)
2 onions
2 large tbsps of salted room temperature butter
Olive oil
1 large lemon
1 bunch of rosemary
2 cloves of garlic
½ a mug of water
Salt and pepper

For the gravy:

1 tbsp of plain flour
1 small glass of white wine
1 large mug of stock or vegetable water

1. Set the oven to 190 degrees and get your chicken out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature.
2. Slice 1 of the onions and place in a baking tray, position the chicken on top.
3. Dry the chicken skin with a piece of kitchen paper – worth doing as it makes for an extra crunchy skin.
4. Crush the garlic and mix with the room temperature butter. Then carefully pull the chicken skin away from the bird, using your fingers to create a pocket, and push the garlic butter between the skin and the meat. Dollop the remaining butter in between the legs of the bird.
5. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the bird. Then push the remaining lemon halves into the cavity of the bird. Quarter the other onion and push that along with the small bunch of rosemary into the cavity.
6. Salt and pepper the bird and finish with a drizzle of olive oil over the top.
7. Pour the water into the tin (avoiding wetting the bird itself; this helps to create incredible gravy.)
8. Roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes (depending on size.)
9. Remove to a plate and rest for 15 minutes in tin foil before carving.

Meanwhile make the gravy: 

1. Using the baking tray you have roasted the bird in, put it on the hob and bring it to a simmer, scraping up any sticky bits and mushing the remaining onion
2. Put the flour in the corner of the tray and gently incorporate the liquid, as if you were making a paste, before adding it all. Allow it to simmer for a minute or two
3. Throw In the wine and stock and reduce for 15 minutes of so, while the chicken rests
4. Sieve into a warmed jug.

Serve with roasted new potatoes, caramelised butternut squash, steamed leeks and bread sauce.

Words by Chloe Francklin. The Iris Letter April 2018.