Jamie Oliver's Perfect Roast Chicken

This classic recipe from Jamie Oliver guides you through how to make his idea of a perfect roast chicken. Stuffed with delicious herbs for maximum flavour, this reliable dish is ideal for bringing the family together for a Sunday Roast.

From the book

The Naked Chef by
The Naked Chef
Jamie Oliver's first ever cookbook, now a special anniversary hardback
Packed with accessible home cooking inspired by restaurant techniques
Simple and delicious recipes, from pasta to pudding

Introduction

I cook this every week and I always try to do something different with it. I’ve never actually seen anyone cook it like this but it’s very straightforward – it must be the best way to have roast chicken and it makes a real change.

Basically what I do is carefully part the skin from the meat on the top of the chicken breast and stuff the gap with fresh, delicate herbs such as parsley, basil and marjoram. Then I tie it up and roast it with some olive oil and salt.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1.1–1.4kg/2½–3lb free-range chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 small handfuls fresh herbs (basil, parsley, marjoram), picked and finely chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, halved
4 bay leaves, torn
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Instructions

Preheat the oven and a roasting tray to 225˚C/425˚F/gas 7. Wash the chicken inside and out and pat it as dry as possible with kitchen paper. Some people remove the wishbone but I like to leave it in and make a wish. Rub the cavity with salt, then, being very careful, grab the skin at the tip of the chicken breasts, making sure that it doesn’t rip, and pull up gently. With your other hand gently separate the skin from the meat of the breast. It’s normally connected by a little bit of tissuey-type stuff, and you can either leave this attached in the middle and make two little tunnels either side or you can try to cut away the middle. Sprinkle a little salt down the gaps that you have made, and push in the chopped herbs. Drizzle in a little olive oil. I don’t always stuff the chicken but when I do I generally go with lemon, bay and rosemary, which I push into the cavity at this point. Pull the skin of the chicken breast forward so that none of the actual flesh is exposed, tuck the little winglets under, and tie up as firmly as possible.

To me the perfect roast chicken has tender moist breast meat, crisp skin and, dare I say it, over-cooked thigh meat. So at this point, simply slash across each thigh about 3 or 4 times and rub in some of the leftover herbs, which allows the heat to penetrate directly into the thigh meat, enabling it to cook faster. With your hand, rub a little olive oil into the skin of the chicken and season very generously with salt and pepper. Remove the hot tray from the oven and add a little oil. Put the chicken, breast side down, on the bottom of the tray and put back into the oven. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, then turn it over on to the other side, breast side down. Cook for another 5 minutes and then place the chicken on its bottom. Cook for 1 hour at 225˚C/425˚F/gas 7.

Use any excess fat that drips off into the roasting tray to roast your potatoes, or cook the potatoes in the tray with your chicken. The skin should be really crispy and the herbs will flavour the flesh – this really must be the best roast chicken. Trust me – it’s not fiddly, it’s pukka.

CALS 521 kcal FAT 40.2g SAT FAT 9.4g PROTEIN 37.8g CARBS 1.8g SUGAR 0.8g SALT 1.1g FIBRE 0.2g

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