What’s for Supper – it’s time for another roast chicken…

A chicken a day probably doesn’t keep boredom away but a chicken a week is most defiantly part of my cooking routine. I simply never tire of a really good quality chicken, roasted simply with a lemon and some herbs, plenty of salt, pepper and olive oil, and with whatever accompaniments the season offers.

We are in the middle of the wonderful local asparagus season, which normally brings with it asparagus festivals, picking and special menus. It feels very sad not to have this outstanding vegetable celebrated with the pomp it deserves.

This, to me, remains one of the the most delicious meals I can think of. I just never tire of it and I enjoy it as much when I first cook it, and the chicken meat is juicy and tender, and the skin hot and crisp, as I do the following day when it is cold. That’s when I enjoy it with mayo, pickled cucumber and a slice or dark rye bread.

My household is small so I like cooking smaller chicken of just above a kg in weight. I actually prefer smaller chickens to larger ones even when I cook for many. They are more aesthetically appealing to me, and I prefer to roast two small chickens instead of one large one. And they cook quicker, obviously.

I always seek out free range chicken, from smaller producers. The better life the chicken’s has had,  the better it tastes on the plate.

Chicken is often over cooked, which makes it dry and wolly. For a small chicken, just over an hour at 190C is enough. For a very large bird I would assume 1h 45 minutes and for a regular medium sized bird 90 minutes. Stick the tip of a knife in the thickest part of one of the things to check doneness. If the juices are pink, or red, there are still uncooked parts so stick it back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes. If the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked.

To cook, push into the cavity one whole lemon, washed and pierced with a knife to encourage the juices to escape,  and some hole hard herbs such as sage and rosemary, and plenty of sea salt and pepper. I drizzle olive oil over the skin and season again before putting it in an oiled roasting tin.

When 30-35 minutes of the roasting time remains, I add some firm potatoes, halved lengthways, washed, skin on, and turn them in the oil. When adding asparagus, I cut off the tip, and then cut the stalk into one or two smaller pieces. I add those to the pan when 4-5 minutes remain and finally, a couple of minutes before I am going to take out the chicken I throw in the asparagus tips. Make sure they are turned in the salty hot cooking fats and that they don’t cook for more than a minute or two.


Remove the tray from the oven. Leave the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes. You can keep the tray of potatoes in the oven once you switch it off, if you prefer them to stay very warm.

Carve the chicken and serve with the juices from the soft cooked lemon, the crispy potatoes and the tender asparagus. It is difficult to describe just how delicious a good chicken roasted like this is.

I sometimes indulge in a dollop of mayonnaise on the side, but not always when the chicken is newly roasted. The next day however, when I enjoy it cold, mayo is a must.