Why would we add roast chicken to our Healthy Eating Recipe section? Chicken is a lean white meat that is low in saturated fats and generally a much healthier option than red meats. And because once you have the chicken you can create at least three meals out of it. It is also easier on the budget than red meats!!
Dr. Paul recommends that you buy a free range or organic chicken, which is slightly more expensive - but way more flavorsome. They have been reared in a more natural environment and the chicken's are not fed growth hormones or antibiotics.
Buy a fresh chicken (I buy ours at Big Carrot or Jerry's Supermarket) and store it in the fridge for 1 - 2 days at the most.
Roasting the chicken
Preheat your oven temperature to 500ºF. This is a secret which will result in really crispy and brown skin and deliciously succulent meat. Once the chicken goes in the oven reduce the temperature to 325ºF for the remainder of the cooking time.
To calculate your cooking time, take the kg weight of your bird and multiply it by 2.2 (gives you weight in pounds). Then multiply this number by 30 (minutes per pound). This will give you a perfectly cooked chicken. Usually a 3.6 lb chicken takes about 1 hr and 50 minutes or so.
The skin must be kept on throughout roasting, as it is the skin that holds the moisture in the meat and keeps the fat out of the meat.
The chicken should be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed under a cold running tap and patted dry with a paper towel.
Drying the bird with paper towels will ensure a nice brown and crispy skin.
Seasoning the chicken
Place the chicken in a shallow roasting pan and lightly grease the skin of the chicken with olive oil.
Season the bird with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and a bit of dried basil. Salt and pepper can also be rubbed into the body cavity for additional flavor. Put about ½" of water into the bottom of the pan to keep the bird moist. Cook with the cover off the roasting pan.
That's it. Simple! The bird is now ready to place inside the oven.
The meat should be cooked until it is 185 degrees F measured by the bone at the thigh. If you do not possess a meat thermometer, then you can easily check that the meat has been properly cooked in two ways:
- The drumstick should move about freely when wiggled.
- The juices of the chicken run clear upon inserting a skewer into the leg.
When properly cooked, remove the chicken from the oven and cover with the lid to your roasting pan. Leave it to rest for 15 - 20 minutes This will allow the juices to settle and be reabsorbed into the meat making it juicy and moist. Don't skip this step or you will let all the juices flow out of the meat once you carve it.
Once the chicken has rested, it will then be ready to carve and serve.
This is the way I usually prepare a Roasted Chicken, however if you wish to explore other seasoning combos for something slightly different, try any of the following:
- Season the bird inside and out with a selection of herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage or Tarragon.
- Stuff some herbs under the skin of the bird for even more flavor.
- Place half and onion and some garlic into the body cavity.
- Or if you prefer, fill the cavity with orange or lemon wedges.
Any of the above will give the meat a delicious and aromatic flavor.
Whatever you do - don't throw away the carcass after you're done eating the meat and save the leftovers. Put the leftover meat in one container and the bones in another container and pop them in your freezer. We are going to make delicious homemade soups. If you accumulate a couple of carcasses before the next recipe is released then all the better. The more bones, the richer your broth will be.
Bon Appétit!! - Sharon