4 ways with roast chicken

Nothing beats the simplicity of a roast chicken, but it doesn’t have to be boring to be simple.

About 1 hour (each)

Serves 4-6 (each)

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Orange, lime & fennel roast chicken

The citrus fruit not only adds a beautiful zesty flavour, it keeps the chicken moist while cooking too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (1.2–1.5kg) whole chicken (giblets removed)
  • Salt and milled pepper
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) olive oil
  • 1 tsp (5ml) chopped fennel fronds 
  • Grated peel of 1 orange
  • Grated peel of 1 lime
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced 
  • ½ bulb garlic 
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • ¼ cup (60ml) melted butter
  • Juice (80ml) of 1 orange

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. 
  2. Season chicken generously.
  3. Combine oil, chopped fennel fronds and grated citrus peel. 
  4. Rub mixture over chicken, taking care to coat evenly. 
  5. Place fennel bulb, garlic, orange and limes slices (reserving 2-3 slices of each) on a greased baking tray. 
  6. Arrange remaining citrus slices on top of chicken and secure with string. 
  7. Nestle chicken on top of fennel and roast for about 30 minutes, basting every 10-15 minutes with melted butter and orange juice. 
  8. Cover with foil and roast for a further 30 minutes or until cooked through and golden.

Moroccan rubbed roast chicken

This spice rub works wonders on red meat too. Make a big batch and store in an airtight container.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) regular or smoked paprika,
  • 1 tsp (5ml) each cayenne pepper and ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) each coriander seeds and cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp (3ml) each ground cloves and nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) light brown sugar
  • 2-3 chopped cloves garlic 
  • 1 tsp (5ml) each grated fresh ginger and fine salt
  • 1 (1.2–1.5kg) whole chicken (giblets removed)
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) olive oil
  • ¼ cup (60ml) melted butter (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. 
  2. Using a pestle and mortar, bash together spice, sugar, garlic, ginger and salt until well combined.
  3. Coat chicken with and apply rub, taking care to evenly coat chicken. 
  4. Place on a greased baking tray, cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes. 
  5. Remove foil and roast for a further 30 minutes or until cooked through, basting chicken every 10-15 minutes with either butter or the pan juices.

Bacon-wrapped roast chicken

Wrapping chicken in bacon ensures that the breast does not dry out as quickly. Streaky bacon is best because of its high fat content.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (1.2–1.5kg) whole chicken (giblets removed)
  • Salt and milled pepper
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) chopped thyme
  • 1 packet (200g) streaky bacon

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Season chicken with salt and milled pepper.
  3. Coat with butter and thyme. 
  4. Wrap bacon slices around the breast area in a lattice pattern, making sure to cover completely. Secure the bacon in place using toothpicks. 
  5. Place the chicken breast-side up on a greased baking tray. 
  6. Roast for 30 minutes, then cover with foil and roast for a further 30 minutes, basting regularly with the pan juices every 10-15 minutes. 
  7. Remove toothpicks from the bacon before serving.

Brine and butter-basted roast chicken

Brining the bird overnight and basting it while cooking results in the juiciest, most tender roast.

Ingredients:

Brine:
  • 8 cups (2L) water
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) coarse salt
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Handful fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary and sage work well)
  • ½ garlic bulb
  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) mixed peppercorns
  •  3 Tbsp (45ml) honey or white sugar
  • 1 (1.2–1.5kg) whole chicken (giblets removed)
Basting:
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) melted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) chopped thyme, sage or rosemary 
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

  1. Place brine ingredients in a large pot and bring to the boil.
  2. Stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely. 
  3. Place chicken into cooled liquid and chill overnight. 
  4. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with kitchen paper. 
  5. Combine ⅓ cup (80ml) melted butter, 2 grated cloves garlic, 2 Tbsp (30ml) chopped thyme, sage or rosemary and a squeeze of lemon juice to make a basting sauce. 
  6. Place chicken on a greased baking tray and roast for 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with sauce. 
  7. Cover with foil and roast for a further 30 minutes or until cooked through and golden.

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