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 the goods

1 chicken, 4lb / 2kg

2 lemons

fresh parsley

fresh sage

fresh rosemary

fresh thyme

fresh basil

salt and pepper


olive oil

3 medium onions


  • active 15 minutes
  • total 1 hr 20 minutes

you will need: 

  • large baking dish

serve with: 

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never fail roast chicken

is there anything as satisfying as walking into a house bursting with the aroma of a roasting chicken?

being able to roast a chicken is a great example of how much better it is to be able to cook a simple dish perfectly than struggling through complicated, fussy dishes

try this:

pre-heat oven to 425f / 225c

wash: the chicken inside and out, stuff some paper towel inside and pat dry the outside. discard the paper towel

cut: a lemon in half and stick it inside the breast cavity with a knob of butter (1oz?) and some salt. you can also stuff a rosemary and thyme sprig. if I have them, I will use preserved lemon instead of fresh lemons for a more intense flavour

make: two little pockets by inserting your fingers between the skin and flesh either side of the breast bone. place 2 sage leaves, 2 parsley sprigs, 2 basil leaves and a knob of butter in each 'pocket'. do this carefully so that you don't break the skin

peel: the onions, remove the outer skin and slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds. place these in the bottom of the baking dish. place the chicken on top of these onion rounds (they stop the bird from sticking to the bottom  of the pan and give you the makings for some killer onion gravy later!)

squeeze: the juice from the second lemon over the flesh, them sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt. rub this into the skin a bit. grind some pepper over the chicken

drizzle: olive oil over the bird

cover the chicken with foil and place in the oven. bake covered for 45 minutes. baste chicken and bake another 30 -40 minutes uncovered

my mum always used to tell me that a chook (australian for chicken) is cooked when the drumstick wiggles freely. I tend to put the bird on a plate and prick it in the thigh where the meat is thickest. if the juice runs clear, then dinner's almost ready

cover: the chook with the foil. drain the pan of most of the fat, leave the juices and the onions. whack the baking pan on the stove top. stir 1 tblsp flour into the juices. cook it a little over a medium heat. add 1 cup water, a pinch of salt and a dash of balsamic vinegar. let this bubble and thicken. stir constantly