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    Roast Chicken

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    Roast Chicken

    Waitrose sells a selection of fresh chickens, all reared in the UK. The range includes standard, free range, traditional corn fed free range and organic birds. If you want the best flavour choose a free range or corn fed bird. A free range chicken has been allowed to roam freely, allowing the flavour of the meat to develop, while a corn fed bird has golden flesh and rich flavour. If you choose a frozen chicken it must be completely defrosted before cooking - ensure that there are no ice crystals in the cavity.


    • Waitrose Fresh British Chicken, weighing approximately 1.5kg
    • ½ unwaxed or organic lemon
    • ½ small onion
    • 2 bay leaves or a sprig of rosemary
    • 25g melted butter


    1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Remove all the wrapping from the chicken and snip the elasticated string that ties the chicken together. Wipe the chicken all over with kitchen paper to dry the skin.
    2. Place the chicken in the roasting tin and season inside the cavity. Push the lemon and onion inside with the herbs. These will produce steam and flavour, to keep the chicken moist. Brush the chicken all over with melted butter, then season. The salt makes the skin crispy and the butter will keep the chicken moist. Tie the legs back together with kitchen string to give a good shape.
    3. Roast the chicken in the centre of the oven for 1½ - 1¾ hours. To check that it is cooked, pierce the fattest part of the thigh with a fine skewer. If the juices are pink or show traces of blood, cook the chicken a further 10-15 minutes, then check again. If the juices are pale golden, the chicken is cooked.
    4. Using two forks, lift the chicken from the roasting tin onto a large plate and reserve the cooking juices. Cover the chicken tightly with foil and leave for 10 minutes before carving. This allows the juices, which have risen to the surface during cooking, to be reabsorbed into the meat to give a moist texture.

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    Cook's tips

    How to make Gravy:
    Drain all but 3 tbsp of the juices from the roasting tin. Set the roasting tin on a hob and reheat the juices. Sprinkle in 2 tsp of plain flour and stir well with a wooden spoon. Gradually stir in 300ml chicken stock. Bring to the boil, stirring until thickened and smooth. Season well. If the gravy is bland add a little mustard and a splash of soy sauce. For a special gravy, some of the stock can be replaced with red or white wine.

    Carving the Chicken:
    Hold the chicken steady with a fork, then insert a large sharp knife between the body and leg. Cut off the leg. Divide the leg in half at the joint to give a drumstick and thigh portion. Cut away the wing on the same side. Carve down the breast in thick slices. Repeat on the other side of the chicken.


    Add More Flavour:
    Sprinkle the breast with any of the following before roasting:
    2 tsp dried mixed herbs or oregano
    1 tsp paprika and a good pinch chilli powder
    1 tsp each mustard seeds and cumin seeds

    Kitchen tools

    You need a roasting tin large enough to take the chicken comfortably, kitchen string, kitchen paper, pastry brush, two forks, fine skewer, foil, measuring jug, teaspoon, wooden spoon, large plate, carving knife and fork.


    Average user rating

    4 stars