Roast chicken

Roast chicken

Best Kitchen Basics
Petrina Tinslay

This is my go-to dish for any occasion, prompt or informal. It relies on the quality of the bird, so buy the best you can afford. Rubbing the skin with oil ensures it will be crisp and gives something for the salt and spices to adhere to. The chilli adds a certain frisson and shouldn’t be omitted.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 1.8kg free-range chicken
1/2 bunch thyme
25ml virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
freshly ground white pepper
1 lemon
1 red onion
2 teaspoons cornflour


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Rinse the chicken under cool running water and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Spread the thyme over the base of a roasting tin and put the chicken on top. Rub the chicken with the olive oil, ensuring it is thoroughly covered. Sprinkle over the chilli, salt and a good grinding of white pepper.
  4. Cut the lemon and onion into quarters and add them to the tin. Roast for 1½ hours, with the cavity of the chicken facing the rear of the oven. To test if the chicken is cooked through, look at the juices in the cavity. They should just be turning brown. If they are still bloody, another 5 minutes or so should suffice.
  5. When the chicken is ready, remove it from the roasting tin and put it on a warm plate to rest.
  6. Put the roasting tin on the stove top and remove some of the fat. Turn the heat to high and add 250 ml water. Bring to the boil, scraping the tin to incorporate the caramelised pan juices. Pass the jus through a fine sieve into a small saucepan.
  7. In a cup or small bowl, make a slurry with the cornflour and 1 tablespoon cold water and then whisk this mixture into the jus. Whisk over medium heat until thickened slightly.
  8. Carve the chicken and squeeze over the roast lemon quarters. Serve with the jus.


  • I always serve this chicken with roast potatoes. I use desirée for preference but any waxy variety is fine. Peel the potatoes and cut them into eighths. Soak in cold water for a few minutes. Drain and then microwave on High (100%) for 2–3 minutes in a sealed container to set the starch and prevent them from sticking. Heat a heavy, cast-iron roasting tin in the oven. When hot, add 80 ml olive oil. Drain the potatoes again and rub them dry in a clean tea towel. Place them in the tin in an orderly fashion. They should sizzle. Brush them with some of the oil in the tin and season well with sea salt flakes. They will be done when the chicken is ready. Don’t be tempted to turn them until this time and you will be rewarded with a glassy, golden crunch.
pei modern
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again