Roasting The Perfect Chicken.

By Alison September 8, 2007 10 Comments 2 Min Read


For thirteen years I was a fully fledged vegetarian. And then I came home from a raucous night out,  shoved a sausage roll into my gob and faster than you can say McDonald’s, I was a meat eater again.

A meat eater who couldn’t touch raw meat. A meat eater who only ever ate meat her Mummy cooked and a meat eater who still only  ever really  eats vegetarian fare  in restaurants.  And then I grew up and decided life  would  be lovelier if I could stomach roast chicken warm from my own oven.

So I bought a Marks and Spencer’s chicken that you roast in a  plastic bag (I know!!),  and nearly poisoned myself.  Then I started buying chickens that came equipped with their own little tray and didn’t require any  flesh (mine) to flesh (the chickens)  contact and yes they meant Sunday roast was a possibility but culinary perfection they certainly weren’t. And it was then that I got brave and started buying chickens that needed a little manhandling. Chickens that required hands stuffed up their bottoms and didn’t come decorated with grazed knees and abscesses.  Chicken I would roast in foil for a good hour and then remove the foil to colour for the remaining time. Salty, scrumptiously juicy chickens that were close to my definition of yummy, but sadly not quite there, certain as I always am that the rest of the world know culinary and literary secrets they have unanimously decided to keep secret from me.

Such as:- you are supposed to turn a chicken so it’s lying on both sides and once on its breast while it roasts. You knew that didn’t you? Why didn’t you tell me? Was it fair to leave me to figure it out myself? To leave it to serendipity that I would eventually discover Marcus Wareing’s recipe for chicken perfection and swoon in mouth watering delight as I pulled golden brown skin away from juicy, firm flesh?

Try it yourself:

" For juicy, melt in the mouth chicken, you need  to turn the bird over several times and baste it well during roasting. This helps  the heat penetrate evenly and makes the meat moist.

After the chicken has been roasting for half an hour  and the skin  on the breast is nicely coloured and crisp, turn the bird on to one of it’s sides  (prop it up on roasting potatoes/vegetables)  and baste well. Roast for ten minutes, then turn the bird on to it’s other side. Baste and  return to  the oven  for another ten minutes. Now turn the chicken over on to it’s breast, so the back is facing up, and baste well. Return to the oven to roast for another ten minutes. Finally sit the bird breast side up and roast for the remaining time."

Said Marcus. Et voila! Comfort food supreme.   


  1. Ali says:

    My mum taught me how to roast chicken. Cook it covered with a foil tent. Baste once, halfway through cooking time. Take the foil off for the last 30 minutes to crisp the skin and viola!
    Roast chicken with mash and gravy. Comfort food!
    Ali x

  2. Mary Ellen says:

    Another option is the Beer Can Chicken. You open a can of beer, take a hearty swig and place the can on a baking sheet. Place a raw, seasoned chicken on the beer can (it forma a tripod – chicken legs and beer can) You then roast the bird upright in the oven or on a grill. The beer steams and the result is a juicy, tender chicke. Really!

  3. I disagree with all those troublesome methods. I loosen the skin on both sides and insert a paste made of herbs and salt underneath the skin. Then I massage the chicken to make it feel good and spread the seasonings. It then gets popped into a very hot oven, either standing up on one of those Eiffel tower racks or lying on its back on a rack. Cook at 425°F or 210°C until a thermometer inserted in the meat near the thigh joint reads 170°F. Let it rest and the temperature will continue to rise.
    No rubbing, no basting, no turning, just crunchy skin and juicy meat. It is also so fast you'll think a microwave was involved. Sometimes it's done in 35 minutes.

  4. Jeanne says:

    I make two chickens at once — one for dinner, the other for salads, sandwiches, etc. during the week. That way I get a day to be a lazy slob…a lazier slob.

  5. Sharon S says:

    Hmmm.. I've never heard of roasting a chicken that way. If it turned out great and you feel you have found the best recipe ever, stick with it. I finally found a turkey recipe that I love, and I'll always use that one. I get confused with too many great recipes trying to take over my brain. One great one is enough.

  6. Mandi says:

    You sound just like me…..veggie then chicken…I find it even now to do a decent chook…chicken…somehow I wonder if the guilt interferes with the cooking process…..till soon

  7. Mandi says:

    sorry …I meant to say i find it Hard..(missing word) to do a decent chook…

  8. Jenny says:

    Actually I just became Vegan – my husband and I both did. And I have a great 'Faux Chicken and Dumpling Soup' recipe if anyone is interested. It tastes so scrumptious, no one can even tell the difference!

  9. Grace says:

    My favorite way to roast a chicken is Ina Garten's recipe – a cut up lemon, a head of garlic cut in half wide-ways, and a handful of thyme or some other lovely herb, all shoved up the bum of a salted and peppered chicken. Rub lightly with melted butter or oil and roast just like that in a 350 degree oven until done on the inside and crispy brown on the outside. Divine!

  10. lazylol says:

    I do turn my chicken but only once. I start it on its breast and then turn it on its back for the last 30 mins. Lovely. I am going to try your way too Alison.

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