Steps to Making a Perfect Roast Chicken

This meal is a full roast chicken with roast potatoes, broccoli, and carrots. It is a French style meal – each component of the dish is cooked according to the traditional French method. This meal is for four people but you easily refrigerate the left-overs and have them later if you are cooking for fewer.

Prepare your Chicken

Wash and dry the chicken inside and out. Remove any giblets (that is the bag of guts) inside the cavity. Put one clove of garlic (with the skin removed) inside the cavity. Put one bay leaf in the cavity, and put 3 or 4 sticks of thyme inside. Salt and pepper in the inside of the bird.Salt and pepper the outside of the bird then smear it with soft (but not melted) butter. The butter should be put on thickly – if you have an extra large bird you could use nearly a whole stick of butter.Tie the legs together tightly and tuck the wings underneath.Turn your oven on to 200C (400F, Gas 6) – make sure the highest rack is just below the center of the oven.

Start the Roast

If your chicken is 900 or so grams, you will be cooking it for 45 minutes – if it is larger, use this formula to work out the cooking time: 15 minutes per 450 grams, then add 15 minutes extra to the total.Take a roasting dish large enough to fit the chicken AND the potatoes. You don’t want it too much larger if possible. Put two tablespoons of goose fat (if you don’t have goose fat, use lard, and if you don’t have lard, use olive oil) in to the roasting dish and smear it around. You want the fat to melt so help it on the stove if you need to. Add the potatoes and turn them so they are completely coated in fat. If you need more fat, add it.Move the potatoes to the sides of the dish to make room for the chicken (try to keep space between each potato). Place the chicken breast side down in the roasting dish – this means it will appear to be upside-down. The reason for this is that the breast has very little fat on it while the underside has a lot – we want the fat from under the chicken to flow through to the breast.Once your oven is pre-heated, add the roasting dish with the chicken and potatoes. You will need to roast it for 25 minutes. After 15, turn the potatoes and baste the chicken with the fat if it is looking dry.

Remove the chicken

Once the final 20 minutes of cooking has finished, remove the chicken from the roasting pan and put it on a wire rack – cover it with aluminum foil. This needs to be left for at least 15 minutes so that the meat can relax and allow the juices to settle – the result is a far more tender bird. Take the potatoes out of the roasting dish and put them in a single layer on a baking sheet – put that back in to the oven while you do your final preparation.

Make a Gravy

This is a very easy gravy – Put the roasting tray on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium high. Once the juices in the pan begin to bubble pour in a little of the chicken stock and, using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan until all of the little bits have come up. Add more stock (about 1 cup) and keep stirring. You need to let the juices reduce a little. Once it has reduced, taste for salt (if your stock is unsalted you will almost certainly need to add salt) and add pepper. Strain the sauce through a sieve in to a gravy boat.

Put it all together

Put this on the serving plate and use your hands to remove any other meat from the carcass. When done, sprinkle a little extra salt over the meat on the dish – diners should not need to salt and pepper a properly cooked meal.Put your hot vegetables in to two separate serving dishes and remove the potatoes from the oven – put those in a separate dish as well. Put everything on the table and your chicken will be moist, your potatoes will be dark and crunchy on the outside but fluffy in the middle, your carrots will be sweet and brilliant orange, and your broccoli will be bright green and creamy. A perfect roast!

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