Saturdays were special days. Apart from the joy of not having to attend school, it was also the day we usually took a trip to the nearest ‘hamlet’ – to shop and to visit the library – but most unusual was that we did not eat ‘Indian food’ for dinner on Saturdays. Amma usually made baked crumbed chicken, pasta, cottage pie or whole roasted chicken. Amma was quite fussy about the type of chicken she used to make roast chicken. Although we grew our own chicken (Zulu fowls) Amma preferred roasting what she called ‘fresh chicken’ (the fat brown hens which she cut and cleaned herself). She usually stuffed the chicken with bread crumbs and garlic. The excess liquid from the roasting process was used to make her special gravy with grated potatoes and carrots for thick gravy.
My version of Amma’s whole roasted chicken is a simple one-minus the bread stuffing to leave room for desert. I stuffed the chicken with garlic, fresh herbs and lemon, then basted with a garlic herb butter. Served with roasted masala and mustard seed wedges.
Apart from adding fresh flavor and aroma the lemon also helps tenderize the meat. This combined with the garlic herb butter results in a succulent roast chicken…sure to mesmerize the senses- not just the palate.
Prep time: 15
Cook time: 90 minutes
Total time: 105 minutes
Yield: serves 4 – 6
- 1 whole chicken
- a bunch of herbs including thyme, rosemary and sage
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 30 g butter
- 3 lemons
- black pepper
- optional 1 whole bulb of garlic sliced in half
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Wash and prepare the chicken. Remove excess skin, fat and feathers.Leave aside. N.B. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before you intend roasting it.
2. Make the garlic butter by combining the butter and 2 sprigs of thyme,1 rosemary and sage stalk chopped.Add 1 clove of crushed garlic,black pepper and salt .Mix then roll into a log.Set aside while you prepare the chicken.
3. Rub the chicken with salt-on the surface and in the cavity.Stuff the cavity with the remaining garlic cloves, herbs, pepper and 2 lemon halves or bulb or garlic.Add the rest of lemon into the baking tray after the chicken has been in the oven for 1 hour.
4. Push the skin back then apply dots of garlic butter. Pull the skin back in place then fold over the opening of the cavity.Use toothpicks to seal the cavity.
5. Place the chicken in the baking tray. Place in the oven for 20 minutes then turn the chicken over to allow even roasting. After 20 minutes turn again.
6.Cooking times will vary accordingly depending on the weight of the chicken used. I used a 1.2 kg chicken which cooked in 90 minutes.Chicken is cooked once the meat reaches 90 degrees Celsius.
7.Remove from oven. You can retain the liquid for to make a gravy.To make roasted root vegetables.Place unpeeled potatoe wedges in baking tray, add salt , masala and mustard seeds. Drizzle with a tablespoon olive oil. Mix the wedges and spices until evenly coated. Place in the oven for 40 minutes at 180 degrees Celsiusor until they are soft and slightly brown.Serve warm.