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Roast Chicken 101
Just two little secrets – roasting the chicken breast side down for most of the cooking time and roasting at a low temperature for 2 hours will produce an incredibly juicy bird.
Makes 1 roast chicken to feed 3-4 people
One 1.75 kg (4 lb) whole chicken
Oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper, to taste
Citrus – I lemon or 1 orange, cut up
½ an onion, peeled and cut up
3 tsp dried thyme
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
Preheat oven to 300-325°F. Spray a shallow pan with low sides about 2” high – such as a cast iron skillet or a ceramic pan - with cooking spray.
Rinse and pat dry the chicken with some paper towel. Lay the bird in the pan and drizzle all over with oil. Rub in with your hands.
Sprinkle the inside cavity generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle inside with 1 tsp thyme and ½ tsp oregano. Fill the cavity with as many lemon chunks and onion as will fit; do not pack too tightly.
Sprinkle the outside of the bird generously with salt and pepper and the remaining thyme and oregano. Lay the bird, BREAST SIDE DOWN in the pan. Scatter around any remaining chunks of lemon and onion.
Transfer the pan to the oven and roast uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Using a set of tongs or a silicon oven mitt, turn the bird over so the breast is facing upward. Place the chicken back in the oven, uncovered, for another 45 minutes. To test for doneness, give the drumstick a little turn, if the bone moves inside the meat, the chicken is cooked. You can also insert a thermometer into the breast meat – when it registers 180°F, it’s done.
Remove the pan from the oven. Drape the chicken with a sheet of waxed paper and then a tea towel – don’t use aluminium foil – it traps the heat and the chicken will continue to cook. Let rest for 10-20 minutes. Carve and serve.