Your guide to the ultimate roast chicken

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Your guide to the ultimate roast chicken

How do you like your roast chicken? Will you stop at nothing for ultra-crispy skin? Or the most succulent breast meat? Or is stuffing the only thing on your mind? Whatever your chicken goals, Abigail Donnelly has mastered the recipe that will get you there.

When it comes to roasting a chicken, you have two choices: you need to commit to either the crispiest skin, or the most succulent meat.

For super crispy skin, use a lot of salt and don’t include any ingredients that will create steam in the oven. This does mean that the meat will be slightly drier – a small sacrifice for glorious chicken skin. For more succulent meat, liquid in the oven is essential. Get it right and you’ll be able to carve the chicken with a spoon.

How to truss a chicken

Trussing is the best way to make sure your chicken cooks evenly as it helps prevent the wings and drumsticks from burning. The ends of the drumsticks also cover the tops of the breasts, keeping them moist and succulent

1. Start with a length of string
Place the stuffed chicken on a work surface, breast side up with the legs facing you. Place the centre of the string below the tailbone, with the ends extending left and right.

2. Crisscross the string around the legs
Loop each end of string around the legs, then reverse it to make a cross.

3. Pull on the ends of the string to bring the legs tightly together
Pull the ends of the string away from you, looping it around the front of the chicken and over the wings. Now turn the chicken upside down so that the neck is facing you. Tie a knot securely under the neck bone. Trim any excess string and flip the chicken onto its back again. Now it’s ready for roasting.

How do you know when your roast chicken is done?

There are three ways to check whether your bird is cooked to perfection

1. Use a meat thermometer
After the recommended cooking time, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken (the breast) and check that the internal temperature is above 75°C.

2. See if the juices run clear
Use a sharp knife to pierce the flesh between the leg and bottom part of the breast. If the liquid that runs out is still pink, the chicken needs more roasting time, but if the juices are clear, the bird is cooked.

3. Check the colour
Check if the flesh is white all the way to one of the bones. If the bone and the meat closest to it are still pink, the chicken needs more time in the oven.

1. Braise it in milk

The chicken juices blend with the vanilla and milk to make a delicious gravy. Serve with cauliflower purée.
Get the Dijon-and-milk braised chicken recipe here.

2. Get under its skin

Sure, you’ve stuffed butter or ghee under the chicken’s skin. But have you ever used cream cheese (or Cremezola!)?
Get the chicken stuffed under the skin recipe here.

3. Flip the bird

I learnt my best roast chicken tip from Australia’s Maggie Beer years ago: by resting the cooked chicken upside down to let the juices run into the breast, you’re guaranteed a beautifully moist bird.
Get the chorizo-and-barley stuffed chicken recipe here.

4. For the perfect crispy roast chicken, brine it for four hours

Brining a whole chicken seasons the meat and keeps it moist, but don’t leave the bird in the brine for more than the recommended four hours, or you’ll get a tough result.
Get the perfect crispy chicken recipe here.

5. Give it an aromatic bath

This is a perfect dish to prep in advance and come home to on a busy weeknight.
Get the soya-poached chicken recipe here.

6. For the most tender roast chicken, get a little steam going

The chicken will be so tender that you can portion it with a spoon.
Get the no-carve lemon-and-garlic roast chicken.

Browse more roast chicken recipes here.

Abigail Donnelly Article by: Abigail Donnelly

Nothing excites Woolworths TASTE's Food Director quite as much as the challenge of dreaming up recipes with innovative new foods – or the thrill of creating deliciousness on a plate with the humblest of ingredients. With Abi by your side, you’ll be a cooking expert in no time at all.

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