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Please don't laugh- but how do I go about cooking a whole chicken?

(21 Posts)
lizardqueenie Sun 07-Aug-11 16:29:03

<embarrassed from the outset>

I'd really like to know how about you go about either roasting or cooking some other way a whole chicken. I've seen so many re iPods recently where u can get a lot out of cooking say 1 chicken on a Sunday & then using leftovers for pasta dishes, soups etc for the rest of the week but I'm not sure where to start with cooking the chicken! There is just me, DH and one 9 month old DD so I dont need an enormous bird for us but any tips on what to get and then what I with it when I get home? Do I need to buy one of those electric carving knife things my gran has?

Feeling about 12, yours Lizard

lizardqueenie Sun 07-Aug-11 16:29:51

Sorry should read recipes not iPods! Now I do sound like I'm 12! grin

MindtheGappp Sun 07-Aug-11 16:34:31

Just put it in the oven for 90 minutes or so at 170C.

Imnotaslimjim Sun 07-Aug-11 16:38:56

Ok, its really easy once you know how. I get my chicken from Iceland, they do 2 small ones for £5.50 which is ample for me, DH and 2 DC

Preheat oven to 180. Put the chicken in a roasting dish and spuds in with it. Drizzle all over with a little olive oil, and cover with foil. Roast for apporx 1 hour, until the juice from the fattest part of the thigh runs clear

Remove what meat you need for Sunday lunch and serve up. Take off whats left of the meat, and wrap well, pop in the fridge to make curry, stew, pasta, whatever later in the week (no more than 3 days)

With the carcass, drop it in a pan of water, add diced onion, carrot, swede, or any other veg, maybe a bit of garlic if you want. Plenty of salt and pepper. Boil for a couple of hours, then leave to cool. Strain everything out, keeping the water. this is stock and can be frozen for up to 3 months and will make the basis of a soup or casserole

Hope that helps

deemented Sun 07-Aug-11 16:45:17

Or, if you have a slowcooker, pop it in there on low for six to eight hours. Stand on three balls of foil so the fat can drain off, season well with salt and pepper, and you're good to go. If you really want to you can also brown it in a pan before putting it in slowcooker, but i can't be arsed tend not to.

Terpsichore Sun 07-Aug-11 16:47:51

Well, there's a first time for everything, lizard! As I have a chicken in the fridge waiting to be roasted this very evening, this is what I'd do (and, indeed, will do):

Making a note of the weight of the bird first, which should be on the label, take it out of the wrapping (erm...OK, obvious enough) and pat it dry. I like to remove any stray lumps of fat that might be clinging to the skin (rummage about inside a bit) because they just make extra oil that you'll probably want to get rid of.
Put it in a roasting-tray and stuff any of the following up its cavity:

a halved lemon/head of garlic cut in half/generous bunch of herbs such as thyme or rosemary (all of the above, if you like!)

Season the chicken's skin generously with salt & pepper.

Place in a pre-heated oven (Gas 5, 190 deg or so) and roast for about an hour and a half if it's an average-sized chicken of around 1.5kg. You can baste it a couple of times if you like (take it out and spoon some of the juices over it while cooking), but there's really no need. It should be done in this time. To make sure, get a sharp knife and stick it into the chicken leg where it meets the body. The juices (there should be some!) ought to be clear. If they're pink, ie still a bit bloody (sorry), stick it back in the oven for a while longer.

Remember not to carve it for 15 mins or so after it's done - you can cover it with foil to keep it hot. That way it'll be good and juicy. You don't need an electric carving knife, which imho just reduce any meat to stringy shreds. Just use a good sharp knife.

Actually I'm feeling hungry now!

There's no great mystery about this and if you Google Jamie Oliver, Nigel Slater, or any of that lot, they all have recipes for basic roast chicken. There are variations and you can roast extra veg in the pan with it if you like, but basic is fine.

Remember that if you buy a supermarket chicken it will probably say on the wrapper how long to cook it for, and at what temperature.

Good luck!

slug Sun 07-Aug-11 16:47:51

Shove half a lemon, some herbs (thyme works well) or some garlic in the body cavity. If you like a crispy skin, pat a little flour over the chicken skin. Or you could rub a little oil on it. Sprinkle some salt on the chicken, put it in a roasting pan and put it in an oven preheated to 180 degrees C. Cook for an hour or so, then check if it's cooked. Do this by putting a sharp knife into the meaty part of the thigh between the leg and breast. If the juices bubble up pink, put it back in for 10 mins and check again.

Once it's cooked, let it rest for 10 to 20 minutes. It will be juicier this way. To carve, put a horizontal cut at the bottom of the breast. Then start making slices from the top to where you made the cut. You will probably find the leg and wing separates easily enough, but don't be afraid to cut through the joints with a sharp knife.

I find stripping a carcass for the last bits of meat for leftover meals is best done by hand. Don't forget the two oysters at the base of the legs by the spine. If you have the time, you can put the stripped bones in a pot with an onion and some herbs, cover with water and boil up to make your own stock.

DirtyMartini Sun 07-Aug-11 16:54:29

Do not listen to anyone telling you it is a set amount of time - 90 mins would not be enough for some birds, too much for others. 60 mins def not enough for any bird I've ever roasted with a view to saving leftovers for several meals - I cook ones that take 1 hr 45.

The time depends on weight of bird. Look at packet if buying a supermarket bird, it will give temp and time to cook. Or check a guide like roasting times on Delia's website (can't link, on phone).

Oblomov Sun 07-Aug-11 17:59:21

Most average sized chickens , from most supermarkets need :
1 1/2 hrs at about 180 degrees.
Some need nearer and hour and 1/4, some need more like 1 and 3/4 hours. But the 1.5 hrs is a rough guide.

DirtyMartini Sun 07-Aug-11 20:04:04

Mine always say 190 degrees, I think. Someone further down the thread said 170 degrees. confused

Is it because I buy bigger birds - do they up the temp as well as the time on the labels, maybe?

I dunno but, OP, don't worry: they are usually labelled and you can just follow what it says.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sun 07-Aug-11 20:17:01

If you do it in a slow cooker, it is important to remember to turn the switch on at the wall.


Came home this evening expecting a lovely slow cooked chicken. instead we came home to one gently marinating at room temperature all day long. As i had also browned it this morning in the frying pan we didnt dare risk cooking and eating it. I never throw food away but we had to sad

so we had pizza instead. hey ho.

pointydog Sun 07-Aug-11 20:24:57

here you go. Pretty straightforward

lizardqueenie Sun 07-Aug-11 20:26:00

Yay! Oh thanks so much everyone! Firstly for not laughing and pointing and secondly for all of the fab advice.

slim jim thanks for the advice about left overs too, thats really helpful.
terpischore thanks for the step by step guide, I like the bit about patting it dry etc, its that kind of advice I need! grin
slug oysters at the base of the spine? the mind does boggle although it will hopefully become obvious when I am face to face with naked chicken
demented slow cooker? Unfortunately not. I keep trying to convince DH its something that would be useful but i think he thinks it would be another piece of kitchen clutter.

Right, buying chicken tomorrow to practice!

ElectricSoftParade Sun 07-Aug-11 21:53:40

This one works every time. Usually have it once a week as dinner, then leftovers for sandwiches.

Bird in roasting dish, half a lemon and garlic in the cavity. Rub the bird with butter and a little olive oil. Salt, pepper, mixed herbs over it and put it in the oven at 220 for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 160 and add a glass of white wine (pour in the tin not over the bird) and cook for approx 1 hour.

The butter, wine and herbs make a delicious sauce to dip in crusty bread.

Good luck!

Popbiscuit Sun 07-Aug-11 22:05:29

ESP that sounds FAB. I'm writing it in my recipe binder right now.

GabbyYu Mon 08-Aug-11 06:21:48

Maybe you can simply roast it through an oven and just put enough flavor on it first. smile That's as simple as it is!

Iteotwawki Mon 08-Aug-11 06:30:14

Delia recommends an oven preheated to 190 with streaky bacon strips all over the bird. Roast for 20 mins / pound (or 454g, I always need a calculator!) plus 20 mins. Last 15 mins take bacon off (so you have something to nibble) and turn oven up to 220 to get skin crispy.

If you want something more exciting than lemons to stuff it with then stuffing is a doddle (1 lb sausage meat, an onion chopped fine, a packet of stuffing mix plus a half cup of water all mixed together) but don't forget to include the weight of the stuffing with your 20mins/lb calculation smile

Shazzystar Mon 08-Aug-11 11:54:02

We use Jamie Oliver's recipe a lot for a roast chicken:

Always turns out tender and juicy. Give it a go! Good luck.

slug Mon 08-Aug-11 12:23:01

Indeed, they exist

valiumredhead Mon 08-Aug-11 15:39:53

I start the bird off in the oven breast side down and then turn over after half an hour.

Shinyshoes1 Mon 08-Aug-11 15:51:33

190 for 1 1/2 hours.


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