Hepburns Guide to the Perfect Roast Chicken

What is the best way to roast a chicken?

Well, this is the million dollar question and no doubt many of you have your own methods and hot tips on how to get the very best out of this bird.

But here at Hepburns, we have our own thoughts and we would like to share them with you.

Let us know what you think and if any have helped or inspired you along the way. Do drop us a line, or better still, show off your results on our socials!

Buy a quality chicken

It sort of makes sense that if you invest in a slow-grown, free-range bird, you will get off to a good start. We source from a variety of small farms and producers, such as Creedy Carver. All of which have a firm focus on welfare. And believe us, compared to a supermarket chicken, you will notice the difference in quality straight away.

Bring on the butter and lemon

Prep should be kept to a fair minimum but a generous amount of soft butter, slathered over the skin and a lemon, halved and placed inside the cavity will go long way. Crispy skin and succulent meat is the aim here and a generous amount of seasoning helps too. Don’t forget to add some roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery to the tray too (see last point).

Start off hot, then turn to low

Get your oven nice and hot – up to 220°C – before placing the chicken inside on the middle shelf. Give it 10 minutes, then turn down to 160°C and roast for another 50 minutes or until the juices run clear – test by slicing into the gap between the breast and thigh. This helps to brown the bird first, before proceeding with a thorough cook. If done the other way, you risk drying everything out.

Little hacks and twists

If you are feeling experimental, try brining the chicken overnight first. Aim for 50g of salt per 1 litre of water (or a 5% brine) and add a few spices such as crushed fennel seed or coriander seed to the mix. It’s all about elevating those flavours. Another tip is to roast the bird breast side down for the first 30 minute of cooking before turning – roast on a trivet or on the tray’s griddle if you try this route.

Whilst resting, make the gravy

What is roast chicken if not accompanied by luxurious gravy? So when done, take the chicken out the tray, keep it warm and get to work. Remember those root vegetables? Well they should be nicely caramelised, so squash them down into the chicken juice, pour in a healthy glass of white wine and place the tray on the hob over a high heat. Reduce the wine, then add some water (400ml) to mix and thicken up, before straining the liquor through a sieve into a jug.

Bang, that’s your gravy done.

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