As the weather begins to turn, the leaves fall off the trees, the winter jackets come out and we begin to look towards more wholesome, satisfying food and it doesn't get much more satisfying than a traditional roast chicken dinner, for good reason! With crispy brown skin, juicy white meat accompanied by a range of delicious green vegetables it really is the perfect meal for the cooler months.

If you are roasting a chicken for the first time, it can seem a daunting task but the truth is, once you have mastered it, it is very simple. Your main priority with cooking chicken is simply timing!

Choosing the Chicken

So you have set a date for your meal, now onto selecting your chicken and how to cook it! One of the biggest questions you face is choosing between an organic or a non-organic chicken.

If you choose an organic chicken, your chicken will have;

  • Never given any antibiotics, hormones or drugs
  • Reared for at least 81 days, allowing the chickens to grow at their natural rate, not only is this humane, it will mean that the meat is much tastier
  • Lived in a stress free, natural environment with access to fresh air, grass, bugs and sunshine

If you choose a non- organic chicken, your chicken will have;

  • Been given drugs to speed up their rate of growth, alarmingly this is often oestrogen
  • Been injected with antibiotics to combat the chickens been kept in disease ridden conditions
  • Been kept in dark, cramped and damp conditions
  • Been fed arsenic to combat parasites

Seasoning

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Now you have made what should be the EASIEST decision you have EVER made, it’s time to season that chicken. A Chicken dinner should all be about the simple yet delicious flavours present, so it is important not to get too fancy with the seasoning of the chicken, you don’t want to overpower the delicious natural flavours present.

Simply rub a little olive oil over the bottom of your roasting pan, place the chicken in the pan, drizzle on some more olive oil, sprinkle with plenty of salt & pepper and you are good to go! If you do want to take your seasoning to the next level, place a whole lemon and herbs in the cavity of the chicken.

Cooking your Chicken

Simply preheat your oven to 180˚C and cook your chicken for 30 minutes per 500 grams of weight. Every 20 minutes take the chicken out of the oven and baste it in the juices which collect in the bottom of the tray.

Cooking your sides

This is where the timing element comes in essential. Roast potatoes will take at least 45 minutes to roast, so when your chicken has 45 minutes left to cook, pop your potatoes into the tray the chicken is in, making sure they are covered in delicious meaty juices! If you want to make life easier, you can stick the potatoes in with the chicken right from the very start.

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Boiled vegetables shouldn't really take much longer than ten minutes to cook, put these on when you take your chicken out the oven.

Resting the Chicken

When cooking time has finished, take your chicken out of the oven and check whether it is fully cooked. You can do this by stabbing the chicken with a fork or a skewer, if the juices which run from it are clear, the chicken is cooked. If they are pink, return to the chicken to the oven and check a little time later.

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