How To Make The Most Of A Roast Chicken | SLMan
How To Make The Most Of A Roast Chicken
A roast chicken is always a crowd-pleaser. But how do the professionals make it better than the rest? From seasoning and basting tricks to what to look out for at the supermarket or butcher, here some of the UK’s top chefs share their tips, as well as a selection of recipes to use up the leftovers…


Rupert Willday, Charlie Bigham’s

“Prepare the chicken the day before by seasoning it inside and out with a little salt. Place on a plate and cover with a tea towel in the fridge overnight. On cook day, remove the chicken from the fridge at least an hour before it goes in the oven, to allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place sliced carrots in the bottom of a roasting tin. Stuff the chicken with half a lemon and a bay leaf, then evenly smother the skin with 60g of butter. Season well with black pepper and sprinkle over 2 tbsp of chopped marjoram or oregano. Roast the chicken in the centre of the oven and baste with the juices every 15-20 minutes. If there aren’t enough juices to baste, add a splash of water to sit at the bottom of the tin. Roast the chicken for 60-75 minutes until golden – when you pierce a knife into the flesh between the leg and the breast, the juices should run clear. Once cooked, leave to rest in a warm place for 15-20 minutes, ensuring you catch all the juices to add to your gravy. Remove the lemon and bay leaf, and carve to serve.” 


Adam Byatt, Trinity

“A juicy chicken, stonking roast potatoes, aromatic bread sauce and watercress – now that’s a cracking roast. Although chicken prices can be high, my advice is to buy the best you can afford (Label Anglais is a personal favourite). Always poach your chicken before roasting, too. This results in a more succulent and tastier bird, and although it sounds more complex, it actually shortens the overall process. Tie the chicken tightly with string, tucking in the legs to make them the same width as the widest area of the breast. (If you are unsure how to do this, ask your butcher). Pour the stock and water into a deep flameproof casserole or large saucepan and place over a medium heat. Add the bay leaf and peppercorns, then the chicken. Season the stock lightly with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil, then immediately lift the chicken out of the liquid and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Place the cooled chicken in a roasting tray, smear with the butter and season well. Surround the bird with onion quarters and bacon-wrapped chipolatas, then roast for 35 minutes. Once cooked, remove the chicken and chipolatas from the roasting tray and leave to rest for 30 minutes before serving.”


Mimi Morley, HelloFresh 

“Prepping the chicken with seasoning helps create the most delicious flavours. The best way to do this is to make a compound butter. Simply soften the butter, while adding herbs like rosemary and thyme, some garlic salt and black pepper, then slather it over the skin of the breast and legs of the chicken. Alternatively, you can cut a small hole in the skin at the bottom of the breast, tease the butter in and spread it out underneath the skin with your finger – be careful not to break the skin too much. Most people know about the ‘lemon in the chicken’ technique, but you can also do it with lime for something quite different. Pierce holes in the lime before putting it inside the chicken and mix sesame oil, garlic, lemongrass and ginger to make an Asian-inspired roast chicken.”


Justine Murphy, MyMuyBueno

“Roast chicken is so good with garlic butter. To make that, you’ll need 100g of softened butter, 3 cloves of garlic – peeled and grated – and 1 sprig of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped. In a bowl, mix three-quarters of the butter with the grated garlic, chopped parsley, a good pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. With your fingers, work slowly and carefully to loosen the chicken skin and push the flavoured butter underneath. Take care not to tear the skin. Reach all the way across each of the breasts to get the garlic butter distributed evenly. Rub all the remaining butter over the skin, then sprinkle with salt quite liberally to help it crisp up well in the oven.” 


Jimmy Garcia, Jimmy’s Pop-Up

“For a super crispy, beautiful skin and moist chicken, place a thin layer of salted butter between the skin and the flesh of the chicken in as many areas as possible without piercing the skin. This will allow the butter to run into the meat as well as crisp up the chicken and help to cook it to absolute perfection.”



Ligia Lugo, The Daring Kitchen

“Once you have cooked your chicken, store it in the fridge no later than two hours after it’s come out the oven to slow the bacteria growth. The chicken leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you think you won’t use it within four days, you can freeze it to use at a later date. There are loads of ways to use these leftovers. You could mix them into a salad, or cook it into fried rice – when you end up with leftovers that aren't enough for a meal on their own, fried rice with chicken can be a cheap and easy, but filling meal. A super easy way to make tacos is to shred the cooked chicken and place it in warm tortillas. To bulk up the tacos add beans or slaw and you are set for a tasty taco night. Finally, at this time of year, you can cook the leftover meat in a warming casserole.”


Marwa Alkhalaf, Nutshell Covent Garden 

“Elevate your chicken sandwich by turning it into a musakhan roll. Sauté a whole large onion, slice it and top with a generous amount of sumac and mix your chicken in. Season with salt, turmeric and pepper and finish it with pine nuts or almonds. You can use a flour tortilla, naan bread or flat bread – just brush it with olive oil first and fill.”


Paul Leonard, Forest Side

“Once you have carved your bird and finished dinner, simply put your remains and carcass in a stock pan and cover with cold water. Slowly bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes before passing off through a fine sieve. You now have a chicken stock that you can freeze ready to be the base of soups and sauces in the future.”


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