Whole roasted baby chicken

Whole roasted baby chicken

French Lessons
10 mins
Cooking time
35 mins
Steve Brown

One of the difficulties with roasting chicken and other white meat birds is that the delicate breast meat tends to dry out in the hot temperatures. This area is especially vulnerable if you use the classic approach of roasting at an initial high temperature to caramelise the skin. My method avoids this problem altogether. I caramelise the skin in foaming butter on top of the stove before quickly roasting the bird in the oven at a medium heat. While the bird rests, I prop it upright and pour the roasting juices and butter into the cavity. This allows all the wonderful flavours and juices to be absorbed back into the breast meat. I guarantee that this will be the tenderest, most flavoursome chicken you’ll ever eat.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 800g whole poussin or young chicken
120g butter
1 bunch thyme
4 garlic cloves
50ml vegetable oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Rub the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Place half the butter inside the cavity with the thyme and garlic.
  2. Heat the oil and remaining butter in a large heavy-based frying pan over a moderate heat. When the oil is hot and the butter foaming, place the chicken in the pan and start to brown it. Baste continuously and turn the bird over in the pan so it caramelises evenly all over. When it’s a lovely golden brown – and this should only take a few minutes – lift the chicken onto a rack or trivet in a heavy-based roasting pan. Roast for 25 minutes, basting from time to time with the pan juices.
  3. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the chicken to another roasting tray, so that the cavity is pointing skywards. Pour all the roasting juices into the cavity, cover loosely with foil and leave in a warm place to rest for 5–10 minutes before carving. Serve with your choice of accompaniments.
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