“How do you make roast chicken so tasty?”

The other night, while we were cleaning up after Sunday dinner, Bree asked me “How do you make roast chicken so tasty?” My reply was “It must be what I put on it”.

Later that night I started thinking about this question, so I decided to share how I prepare and cook a roast chicken on Meatballs and Muffins, that way it will always be there for Bree or anyone else who is interested in using it.

So here’s what I do …

What you need

1 Free Range fresh chicken

30g butter – softened

2 garlic cloves – crushed

1 lemon

3 TBLS Olive Oil

½ teaspoon sweet paprika

½ bunch of fresh herbs – I use thyme, rosemary and oregano

Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Optional: some vegetables of your choice – sweet potatoes, leak and pumpkin are great for roasting.

What to do

Prepare chicken by rinsing it inside and out with cold water.

Use paper towel to wipe the chicken cavity and the skin to remove any moisture. This will ensure you end up with a roast chicken with crispy skin.

If time allows, place the chicken in the refrigerator uncovered for a couple of hours to allow the skin to dry out further.

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Place softened butter in a bowl. Add the crushed garlic and juice from ½ the lemon – combine well.

Use a butter knife to carefully separate the skin from each breast of the chicken to create a pocket.

Push the butter mixture in each pocket you have created – this will keep the breast moist.

Pour the oil over the chicken, then sprinkle the paprika, salt and pepper. Rub in well over the entire chicken.

Pick a TBLS of leaves from the fresh herbs and chop finely – then sprinkle over the chicken.

Place the remaining herbs and the remaining ½ lemon in the cavity of the chicken.

If adding vegetables,  clean and cut them all same size so that they cook evenly. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper then mix through to coat all the vegetables.

Scatter the vegetables on the bottom of a roasting dish, then place the chicken on a rack over the vegetables. Place in the oven and roast until the chicken turns golden and cooks through – approximately 40 – 50 minutes depending on the size.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest covered loosely with foil for 10 – 15 minutes before carving and serving.

TIP: To test if the chicken is fully cooked, use a skewer to pierce the thickest part of the thigh and, if the juice runs clear, then the chicken is cooked. Otherwise return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.