If you are like me growing up you would have been someone who hated chicken or turkey breast because of its dryness an lack of flavour. Well, I am hoping I will change your mind with my simple guide to roasting turkey or chicken. I have been using this method since my little experiment a few years ago so I hope you will like it
To make this you would need:
- 1 whole free range or organic chicken or turkey- Fully Defrosted
- 1 large lemon, washed in hot water if you are using waxed ones and sliced into quarters
- 1 onion, quatered
- 1 garlic head, halved crosswise
- melted butter (2 to 3 tbs)
- salt and pepper
- herbs of your choice (my favourite are rosemary or thyme)
- teaspoon of sugar
- 3- 4 medium carrots (parsnips or other root vegetables work well too)
For the gravy:
- 1 cup chicken stock (I just use a chicken stock cube)
- 1 tablespoon flour
Begin by preheating your oven to 160°C Conventional or 140°C Fan.
Place your carrots in a roasting dish (I like to use my cast iron one because I will make my gravy in it later on the hob). The carrots will need to be pretty close together- you will be placing your chicken on to of them. A handy tip would be to have the wider ends of the carrots at opposite ends to each other so they are balanced. This way the chicken will not topple over. I like to place the chicken on top of carrots to prevent it sticking, and the carrots are my treat!
Remove any excess fat around chicken cavity opening and pat dry the chicken well.
Season the inside of the bird with salt and pepper. Stuff with the lemon, garlic, onion and herbs.
Brush the breast side first with the melted butter, season with salt and pepper, rub in the seasoning well
Place the chicken/ turkey on top of the carrots BREAST side down. Brush the back with butter as previous and season, and sprinkle herbs on
Place in the oven and roast breast side down. I personally allow 25 minutes for every 500g. This equates to approximately:
1 hour 15 minutes for a 1.3 to 1.5kg bird
1 hour 40 minutes for a 2kg bird
3 hours and 45 minutes for a 4.5kg bird
Why I prefer to roast breast side down
The chicken turkey back has more fat and and less likely to dry out. this will allow moisture to stay within the breast meat as the breast will not be exposed to direct heat. The breast meat will also benefit from the “back fat” pooling down towards it!
When your “breast side down” time is up, remove from the oven and turn oven up to 220°C conventional/ 200°C Fan. Turn the chicken so the breast is facing up.
The next stage will allow the breast to brown quickly without drying.
Place some of the fat and juices that have accumulated in the roasting tin into a small bowl. Mix in 1 teaspoon sugar (this is purely to speed up the browning process thereby reducing drying out of the breast)
Spoon or brush over the bird
Return chicken/ turkey into the oven breast side up and roast for a further 20 minutes.
To tell if the chicken/ turkey is cooked make a small cut between the leg and thigh. The juices should run clear with no trace of pink – if the juices are clear, the bird is cooked
Remove bird from roasting tin and place in a large plate. Cover with foil and leave to rest for about 20 minutes while you make the gravy
Skim off excess oil from the roasting pan and place roasting tray on hob (low heat)
Stir in a tablespoon of flour, an some chicken stock about cup. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping off any sticky bits (they add flavour so don’t throw away just yet!)
Strain into a a gravy boat