Sunday, June 14, 2009

Simple Sunday - Juicy Roasted Chicken

A roast dinner is the ultimate comfort food - I remember the Sunday roasts of my childhood when my grandparents would drive down from the country and we would have a roast lunch, usually a leg of lamb or a stuffed chicken, with gravy (made from the pan juices) and piles of beautiful roasted vegetables. If we were lucky (usually when we had guests) there was also a hot dessert or baked pudding. It was all very "1950's nuclear family" and funnily enough the only times I ever felt like we resembled those families I used to see on TV.

I think that those Sunday lunches were really important in instilling a love of cooking in me and also teaching basic kitchen skills. I remember peeling the vegetables, learning basic knife skills, discovering how long things took to bake and being entrusted to stir the gravy. As I got older I learned more involved processes, such as how to make the custard that would accompany baked apples or a steamed pudding. Eventually I would take over the whole process, loving the warmth and sense of responsibility that time in the kitchen gave me. The kitchen gave me focus, comfort and a sense of purpose.

Today's recipe is a very simple roast chicken that is packed with flavour. It does not have all the trimmings of the traditional family roast but uses some techniques for adding taste and keeping the flesh moist and succulent. I have chosen Greek inpired flavours and served it very simply with roasted potatoes and zucchini, drizzled with the galicky/lemony pan juices.

Juicy Roasted Chicken with Greek flavours

You will need:
1 whole chicken (neck and giblets removed), 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon lemon rind, 4 large cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon salted soft butter, about 1 tablespoon greek oregano (you will find this in deli's or continental stores. It is sold dried in bunches and is long and shrub like. Crumble the leaves off the ends and discard the very tough ends of the stalks), olive oil, Pepper, Salt.

Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water. Gently pat dry.

Combine the butter, lemon rind and 2 of the garlic cloves (minced or chopped very fine) until well mixed. Gently work the skin of the chicken breast away from the flesh (be careful not to tear the skin) and distribute the butter evenly over the breast. The butter will keep the meat lovely and moist.

Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the chicken and rub it in to the flesh. When you are done, put this into the cavity, along with two thirds of the oregano, roughly chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Now rub the chicken all over with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and the rest of the oregano and cook in a hot oven for 20 mins. Reduce to a medium heat and cook for another hour or until the juices run clear and it is cooked through. Be sure to baste the chicken every now and then during the cooking process.

If you are cooking potatoes with the chicken, add them when you have about 30mins left to go with the cooking of the chicken. When the chicken is done, cover in foil and rest it in a warm place for 10-15 mins before carving. Drizzle the juices over the chicken to serve (or use them as a base to make a lemony gravy)



  1. That chicken looks so yummy! I love the colour you were able to get on the chicken. My roast chicken always looks so pale so I always end up buying it from a charcoal chicken shop!

  2. Hi Rilsta :) It is the basting with the butter/olive oil pan juices that gives it that colour. I've found that if you use olive oil alone it doesn't colour up as well. Stay tuned and I will post a recipe soon for a charcoal style Portugese chicken that is really easy to do at home. Thanks for your comment! - GG

  3. Mum cooked this for us last night in Singapore. Very tasty. Maria and Karen enjoyed it too.

  4. Glad you guys enjoyed it - Yay Jan!!! XXX

  5. Gave it a shot! fantastic,,thanks so much!