Chicken, the steadfast Sunday roast go-to. Pro tips from chefs to make sure every roast chicken is utter perfection!
If you’re all about those roast chicken goals, you’re in just the right place because we’ve got the scoop on the perfect roast chicken! We spoke to some of SA’s top chefs and we loved what these foodies had to say.
Warning, these juicy tips will induce roast chicken cravings:
Zanele van Zyl, chef, cookbook author and recipe developer:
“To get the best crispy skin and a juicy chicken roast, remove the cover or the grilling pan lid for the last 15 minutes of cooking, my cooking temperature is always 160 degrees for 1 hour 30 minutes (to make sure it’s cooked properly), always remember to marinate the inside of the chicken (this will ensure your chicken is flavoured well on the inside too) for your chicken to keep its shape, stuff it with a whole lemon and lastly pat your chicken dry with kitchen towel before seasoning or marinating, so that the marinade or seasoning stays on the chicken.”
Zola Nene, chef, TV personality and award-winning cookbook author:
“Chicken breasts often dry out when cooking a whole bird, so you always want to add a bit of fat to secure the breast and make sure that it is actually succulent and flavourful at the end, so how I do this: I add a layer of butter. But you want to add the butter under the skin, so it bastes that breast while it cooks. Always use softened butter, seasoned with salt and black pepper and a combination of your favourite spices and herbs. Once the breast has been taken care of, it’s time to flavour the rest of the bird. Use a wet spice rub, with a bit of oil with your favourite combination of spices, herbs and Dijon mustard. Make sure your oven is preheated to 200 degrees, note the weight of your chicken, and then cook your chicken at 20 minutes per every 500g plus an additional 20 minutes and then always leave the bird to rest after roasting. That will ensure you get a perfect roast chicken every time!”
Nono Mtshali, chef, recipe developer and cookbook author:
“Season generously! Use herbs and spices to create flavourful variations to give your chicken a unique flavour. Get under the skin. To get a crispy skin on your roast chicken that’s juicy on the inside, slather the chicken with a butter blend or olive oil. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare whole chicken since the skin seals in the juices while the herbs and spices trapped beneath gently seasons the meat. Play with your veggies. Veggies play a two-fold role in the roast chicken recipe. First, stuff your chicken with aromatic vegetables and fresh herbs to deliver a lovely flavor from within that permeates into every juicy bite of the chicken meat. Then, create a natural roasting surface with the veggies on the bottom of the roasting pan. Scattered veggies not only keeps the skin on the bottom of the chicken from sticking to the pan, but imparts flavour throughout the chicken. They also create an amazing base for pan drippings.”