Forget brining (submerging it in a salt solution) a chook. It’s a hassle and takes up precious fridge space. The ultimate roast chicken is best done upside down. Yes, upside down. Sure, the bird doesn’t emerge as prettily proud as one roasted the right side up, but this method ensures that the chicken fats drip down towards the dryer, heavier breast, imbuing it with succulence. Roasting it at a lower temperature of 180°C also helps the meat stay fork-tender.
1 fresh chicken (about 800g to 1kg)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into three flat discs
For the marinade:
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
1 large clove garlic
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
- Start this recipe at least a few hours ahead. Mince rosemary, garlic and salt using a mortar and pestle. If using a knife, chop rosemary and garlic finely and transfer to a bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to form a paste.
- Rub the marinade all over the chicken and under its skin.
- Cover the chicken and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or preferably, overnight, so that the flavours can seep into the meat.
- Remove chicken from the fridge at least half an hour before roasting so that it can come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Arrange onion slices close together at the base of a small, heavy roasting tin. Place the chicken, breast side down, on top of the onions (so the chicken won’t stick to the tin when you turn it over later).
- Roast in the oven for an hour.
- Remove the tin from the oven and flip the chicken over, so that it sits breast side up.
- Turn up the oven temperature to 200°C and brown the chicken for a further 15 min. If the chicken is not deep golden-brown when the cooking time is up, turn up the heat to 220°C and roast it for 5 min more.
- Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and allow it to rest for at least 10 min before carving. Serve with salad or roasted vegetables.
Photo by Ealbert Ho