The perfectly roast chicken


Roast Chicken
Cooking time: 25 minutes for every 500g (add 10 minutes extra if needed)
Cooking temp: 160°C and 180°C for last 10 minutes

(NOTE: It is important to cook the ‘pink’ out of the chicken. Test by inserting a test pen into the thickest part of the chicken (drum stick or breast). The juice has to run clear and NOT rosy pink when cooked.)

500g mirepoix (see chef’s note at bottom!)
1 large chicken (1-1,5kg)
  Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 thyme and rosemary sprigs
2 parsley sprigs
1 lemon, cut into wedges
½ orange, cut into wedges
  Butter at room temperature

Ingredients for sauce:
150ml fresh orange juice
125ml chicken stock (cooking juices in pan)
100ml white wine, dry
1 orange, cut into segments (garnish for sauce)
15ml chopped, fresh parsley
  Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Add some Potatoes

500g new (or medium size) potatoes, cut into desired size – roast last 30-45 minutes with chicken (or cook separately in the case of the orange sauce)


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. For the roast, place the mirepoix on a roasting tray. Remove the giblets from the chicken (if any – preferably buy fresh (not frozen) chicken without giblets). Cut away the excess fat – cut out the wishbone to make it easier for carving when chicken is cooked and served.
  3. Season well on the inside with salt, pepper and sprigs of herbs.
  4. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemon and orange wedges – now truss the chicken (see chef’s note at bottom).
  5. Place the chicken on the mirepoix and season well.
  6. At this stage you can rub the chicken with softened butter to enrich the meat and to give it a characteristic golden colour.
  7. Roast for about 35 to 40 minutes then increase the temperature (cover with foil if it is a big chicken). Roast the chicken until crisp and golden brown.
  8. Remove the chicken from the roasting tray pan. Retain the pan juices (stock). With the remainder of the vegetables in the pan, deglaze with the wine and orange juice. Bring to the boil and simmer to retain maximum flavour. Strain through a fine sieve.
  9. Simmer this sauce to reduce to the required consistency. Just before serving, add the orange segments (skin removed) and whisk in a knob of butter.
  10. To serve the chicken, cut into portions, neatly arrange on a platter and serve with the roast potatoes and orange sauce while still hot.

Chef’s notes:

To truss the chicken: to secure poultry with string or skewers so the food maintains a compact shape during cooking.

Mirepoix: a mixture of two parts each diced carrots and onions to one part celery (cut on a slant) and a small amount of leek (washed well and sliced).