Chicken has to be one of the most popular ingredients in British cooking and one that most of the family will enjoy. There’s nothing quite like sitting down around the table to enjoy a perfectly cooked chicken in all it’s glory.
Roasting a chicken is one of those things that most home cooks can achieve, although getting it “just right” is a little more tricky. Chef and writer, Simon Hopkinson wrote a book called Roast Chicken and Other Stories (Ebury Paperback Cookery)
where he explains the perfect method for roasting chicken and that’s the basis for our method. Hugh Fernely Whitingstall also goes along with this method in his excellent The River Cottage Meat Book.
Herby Roast Chicken
Starting off with a good quality bird has to be more than half the battle and that’s why we recommend Herb Fed Poultry’s free range chickens. These chickens are truly free range and well cared for by farmer, Ed Wilkinson on his farm near Thirsk in North Yorkshire. The birds are allowed to roam in and out of a large barn and forage in an open paddock. They are fed on corn with the addition of fresh herbs from a local herb farm (run by Ed’s Auntie, Alison Dodd). At night the chickens are kept in the barn for their safety.
Ed believes that the addition of herbs to the diet of his chickens give the resulting meat more flavour… we have to agree with him on that.
You will need:
- 1 Herb Fed or other quality chicken (1.5 – 2 Kg)
- 100g butter (room temp)
- Some fresh English mixed herbs (see our pack from Herbs Unlimited)
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- Some white wine.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Open up the legs of the chicken and make sure that the cavity is open to allow the hot air from the oven to circulate.
Mix up the garlic, butter,fresh herbs in a bowl and season with salt & pepper, smear this mixture all over the bird, massaging into the skin.
Place in the centre of a pre-heated oven (210c/gas mark 6) for around 20 -25 minutes.
Baste the chicken with the juices from the pan and turn the oven down to 180c/Gas Mark 4. Add a good slug of white wine to the roasting tin and cook for around 30-40 minutes. This may need longer for a larger bird.
The best way to test if the chicken is cooked is by piercing the area where the thigh of the bird joins the breast and checking that the juices are clear and not pink.
Open the oven door, turn it off and leave the bird to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
If you are cooking one of the larger Herb Fed chickens you may want to cover loosely with some foil for around 20 minutes after the first 20 minutes of cooking. This will prevent the skin from burning and also keep in some moisture.
2 Large Free Range Herb Fed Chickens
These free range Herb Fed chickens are fed on fresh herbs from Herbs Unlimited (a local herb grower) and a corn based diet that provides a Yorkshire chicken with a difference and a flavour to be enjoyed by all.
Herb Fed chickens are free range and from just 4 weeks old they have continual access to paddocks where they can roam freely, forage on grass and bathe in the sun.
The price is for 2 Herb Fed Chickens, each weighing in at around 2Kg!!
Find out more about Herb Fed Poultry