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The Best Roast Chicken Recipe... Ever!

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I swear, this is the best roast chicken you will make or taste... ever!

For Christmas last year, amongst the mountain of food I'd already got for the special day, I was going to get a turkey but, besides the fact that I don't like turkey (too dry and somewhat gamy for my liking), going at almost £40 a piece I decided the dry bird could just go whistle... or gobble... or whatever it does.

So, once I'd made the decision to not pay for something I didn't like just because it was Christmas, I bought a chicken instead and once I got home, immediately took to seasoning up the bad boy to the hilt... literally!

You see, when it comes to chicken, I love for it to be full of flavour. As mentioned in my 'Thyme & Lime Spicy Chicken' post, even though I love my steak to be simply seasoned with just a little salt and pepper, when it comes to chicken, oxygen or tap water seasoning just doesn't cut it for me.

Seasonings such as onions, thyme, garlic, ginger, All Purpose and lemon, are just the start of what goes into flavouring up my chicken.

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Unlike steak, I do believe that chicken tastes better when thoroughly seasoned. In fact I feel that it actually enhances and brings out the natural flavour of the chicken as opposed to mask it.

By the time I finish seasoning, massaging and stuffing all of the wonderous flavours into my chicken... well, all I can say is that we both need a lie down and cigarette afterwards, with the chicken coming away EXTREMELY happy!

Once seasoned, I usually leave the chicken to absorb all the flavours thoroughly overnight so I wrap the chicken all snug and tight in foil and place in the fridge before roasting the next day, which is when my roasting technique really comes into play!

The next day before roasting, I wrap the chicken in more layers of foil, wrapping the chicken and folding the foil upwards so none of the juices escape whilst cooking and then roast it for around two hours, carefully opening up the foil in the last hour or so to pour out the deliciously flavoured gravy gathered from the chicken which I use to baste the chicken with. (I also store this same gravy afterwards in the fridge as, due to all the lovely seasonings, it makes the best stock that can be used in several other recipes that call for it.) I then re-wrap up the chicken and return to the oven to continue roasting.

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In the last hour or 30 minutes of being in the oven, I then open up the foil to enable the chicken to brown and crisp whilst still capturing the juices in the foil which I continue to pour out and baste the chicken with every fifteen minutes or so until cooked.

I don't know if this roasting method is unique but to me it's the only way to roast chicken as I'm a stickler for chicken being cooked thoroughly. Roasting chicken this way ensures that the chicken cooks nicely from within.

Furthermore, this way, the chicken literally cooks in its own juices and retains all of the lovely flavours and seasonings.

I'm telling you, do go out and buy a whole chicken to see what I mean as once you roast your chicken this way, there will be NO other way!

Ingredients

1 whole medium chicken
1 red onion, roughly chopped,
3-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped,
1 small handful fresh ginger, finely chopped,
1 small handful fresh coriander,
1 small handful fresh thyme,
A couple sprigs fresh rosemary,
1 lemon, sliced,
3-5 tbsp of All-Purpose seasoning,
1 tbsp mixed herbs,
1-2 tbsp cumin seeds, crushed,
2-3 tbsp meduim curry powder,
2-3 tbsp chilli flakes,
1 scotch bonnet

To garnish (optional)

1 whole bulb of roasted black garlic
Small handful fresh cranberries
Few sprigs fresh rosemary

Instructions

Wash the chicken with cold salty water.
Rinse.
Line a baking tray with enough foil to wrap and totally cover the chicken and place the chicken on the tray.
Start to season the chicken by placing, rubbing and massaging all of the seasonings INSIDE the chicken.
Squeeze some of the lemon juice over the outside of the chicken to moisten and massage the entire outside of the chicken with the remaining seasonings that fall on the tray.
Once fully seasoned, wrap the chicken tightly, folding the foil upwards.
Leave in the fridge overnight for optimum flavour.
The next day, remove the chicken from the fridge and leave on a counter for at least 20-30 minutes before placing in a pre-heated oven turned up all the way.
Line the tray with a few more layers of foil and place the chicken (still in the foil from the night before) on top of these layers, again folding all the foil upwards to ensure none of the juices escape.
Place in the oven for an hour, turning the heat down to approximately 200c afterwards.
After approximately 30 minutes, carefully open up the foil and with an oven mitt, lift up the chicken to pour out the delicious juices/gravy gathered inside.
Baste the chicken with a little of the gravy, leaving the chicken uncovered but still inside the layers of foil to continue to catch the gravy and return to the oven. Repeat this process every 10-15 minutes until the chicken is sufficiently browned and remove from the oven.
Leave to stand for a few minutes and serve with whatever you fancy.
Retain the remaining gravy to use as chicken stock.

Notes

For added effect, you can place some of the sliced lemon, garlic and herbs under the skin of the chicken. These will show through nicely once the chicken has roasted and look quite cool!
You may want to leave out inserting the scoth bonnet till the end of the seasoning process so as not to burst it open. You can then just place it inside the chicken once you have finished seasoning.
The chicken stock can last about one week when kept in an airtight container and left in the fridge.

By Justina Elumeze