Thursday, 28 May 2009

Oven Roasted Chicken

Besides baking, I bought an oven 3 years ago with the intention to use it to for roasting. However, it took me much longer before I attempted to roast a whole chicken! I used to think that it must be a very mind boggling task to roast a chicken, mainly because I am not familiar with herbs and spices. I am glad that I have since uncovered my myth about roasting and even learned a thing or two about cooking with herbs. Ever since the first trial, this Roast Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary has became a regular dish on our dinning table.

I adapted several recipes, although I followed quite closely to Jamie Oliver's version, and came up with one that uses ingredients which I always have on hand or are readily available from the supermarket shelves. Even though I would prefer to use fresh rosemary, on several occasions I have replaced it with dried ones, it works just as fine.

I love any kind of potatoes. So, I will not miss the chance to roast some potatoes alongside the chicken. I have experimented with Russet potatoes as well as the usual yellow potatoes commonly available at the local wet markets. Both taste great to me, but if you like very fluffy potatoes, then go for Russets. The potatoes are first boiled with a whole lemon till they are tender. They are then tossed with some simple seasonings before layering them in a roasting pan. This layer of potatoes also serves as a 'rack' for the chicken. The hot lemon is stabbed several times before it goes inside the cavity of the chicken.

The roasting time can be pretty long, my oven usually takes at least 90 mins or longer before the chicken is done. I shouldn't be complaining as I pretty much enjoy the aroma created by a chicken roasting in the oven...which is infused with the fragrant lemon-pine flavour of the rosemary and a subtle presence of lemon. This roast chicken is full of flavours, deliciously tender and juicy, even the breast meat tastes good to me. The best part has to be the crackly crispy skin, which my elder one would always save for the last ;)

Lemon and Rosemary Roast Chicken


1 medium-size chicken
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly grounded black pepper
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
2 teaspoons fresh, finely chopped rosemary (or use 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1/2 kg potatoes
1 lemon


Grate zest of the lemon in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, mixed herbs, rosemary and mix well. Set aside.

Wash, clean and pat the chicken dry (very dry) with paper towels all over, including the cavity. Rub the seasoning mixture over the chicken and inside the cavity. With fingertips, gently separate the skin from the meat of the chicken breast and push some seasoning mixture under the skin. Leave the chicken to marinate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Remove chicken from fridge and let it rest in room temperature for at least 30 mins so that it will cook evenly. Brush melted butter (or olive oil) all over the chicken.

Peel and cut the potatoes into halves or quarters. Put them into a pot of water with a pinch of salt together with the whole lemon. Bring to a boil and continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for 1 minute. Return the potatoes to the same pot. Toss the potatoes with some salt, freshly grounded black pepper and a little olive oil. Do this while the potatoes are still hot so their outsides get chuffed up and fluffy.

While the lemon is still hot, carefully pierce it with the tip of a sharp knife about 10 times. Stuff the lemon inside the cavity of the chicken.

Put the potatoes in a roasting pan. Tuck the wings underneath the chicken and place it breast side up, on the potatoes. Cook in preheated oven at 200 degC for around 40 - 45 minutes or until the skin is nicely browned. Turn the chicken over and roast for a further 30 minutes or until the skin is browned. Turn the chicken breast side up again and roast for another 10 - 15 mins until the chicken is done and the potatoes are nice and golden. To test whether the chicken is done, pierce the tip of a knife near the joint between the drumstick and the thigh. The juices should run clear (not pink), if it is still pink, cook the chicken a little longer. Carefully remove the lemon from the cavity. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to settle and the chicken will be much more succulent.


A Full-Timed Housefly said...

Yummy ! I love grilling chicken , your photos look so good and professional and your baking skill is so good too.... how I wish I can bake like you. I'm a total failure at baking :(

Pei-Lin said...


Hello! Yummy! The chicken must be succulent and flavorful! Wish I can have some LOL! Yeah, it's true though. After living in the U.S. for a while, I noticed they pretty much either roast or grill meats ... which is very unlike Chinese.

But hey! I also used my oven to make Chinese baked spare ribs! Turned out very good! :)


MH said...

You've reminded me that I haven't done any roasting chicken for quite sometimes! :)
Another tip for roasting juicy chicken is to stuff an apple inside the chicken cavity. Cut into smaller pieces (which was what I did). Alternatively use those big yellow onion to stuff. Equally good! :)

Small Small Baker said...

Your roast chicken looks very delicious. Wish I could have a piece.

I got a very silly question to ask cos I have never bought whole chicken before. Is the cavity of the whole chicken packed from the supermarkets already clean? Very afraid of the task of cleaning the cavity. Hehe... paiseh, I really can't cook.

Bakeling said...

If you don't do the baking , your roasting still as wonderful as your baking 1

When are you opening a bistro ?

Kitchen Corner said...

Yummy roasted chicken! I've been using his recipe too! I believe that the chicken taste really good!

Jamie Oliver's recipe is great!
Follow his way you won't regret!

Triy said...


Wow! Your chicken looks delicious! Another tip when roasting chicken: You can mix the salt, herbs and freshly ground pepper into a few tablespoons of good butter, then rub it all over on the skin. But the real trick to getting tender and succulent chicken is to rub the butter herb mixture between the skin and meat and let the butter melt into the meat. You can try and see if you like it. :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi MH, that's interesting, I didn't know it can be done with apples and onions, thanks for the info!

Hi SSB, I used to ask myself the exact question! I'm sorry I don't really have the answers, as I have only bought once from the supermarket...I couldn't make myself chop off another chicken head again, lolz! I usually get whole chicken from the wet market and the stall owner will remove the giblets and do the 'necessary' (remove the feet, neck and backside) for me. You can get your mum to clean it for you?

Bakeling you are so kind!

Thanks Triy for your tip! I will certainly give it a try :)

babym11 said...

Hi! I'm new o cooking and baking and also to your blog but am enjoying it. I'm not a fan of whole chicken, can I use chicken drumsticks instead?

MH said...

To Small Small baker,

For other supermarkets, I'm not sure. But for NTUC supermarkets (but don't know whether apply to all outlets), you can actually pay for the chicken first and get the staff there to bring it to their "cold" room to chop/process for you. May be you can ask the staff handling the poultry section whether they provide such extra service?. Hope it's helpful! :)

Baking Monster said...

this looks so good!

agapejen said...

You are a genius. I can't imagine myself handling the whole chicken! Do you think I can use chicken wings and breast meat only?
Are we able to get the mixed herbs and rosemary in NTUC? Is it those bottled ones?

I can't wait to try this out!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi babym11,
I must say a whole roasted chicken will be much flavourful and tasty. However, you can try with chicken drumsticks for a start (I had tried with chicken wings). Do note that you will need to cut down on the roasting time, and depending on how many drumsticks, you may not used up all the seasoning mixture.

dear MH, thanks for your info! It is very helpful :D

Hi agapejen, there is always a first time, do try it, although I really don't enjoy the cleaning part ;) You can try with chicken wings, but Not breast meat! A whole chicken is still better as the chicken will be more juicy, and don't use kampong chicken (too lean). You can get mixed herbs and dried rosemary from NTUC, I use the brand MasterFood and don't confuse mixed Herbs with mixed Spices. As for fresh rosemary, you can get it from cold storage or carrefour.

Elyse said...

Way to use that oven!! Roasting chicken is such a fabulous way to cook it. This chicken looks absolutely delicious. No wonder it's become a staple dinner in your house!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

This is really look great, I like to eat Lemon and Rosemary chicken, I have an oven but never roast a whole chicken, look at this, I must try to roast it in one day and very soon...
Thank you very much for kind sharing the great recipe.

Jin Ting said...


Your chicken looks fabulous :)

I tried out your recipe on the Strawberry Sponge Cake using the one on the Santa Claus.

Everything turns out well until the whipped cream I used started melting seconds after I put them on the cake (the cake was cooled completely).

I've never used whipped cream to decorate before, what could be the problem? Pls advise me :) Thanks

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Jin Ting, I am not sure what happened...did you beat the whipped cream till it is sitff?

missy said...

i can smell the aroma of freshly baked chicken with herbs!!!

sherlyn said...

I never like to process whole chicken or fish, so I usually buy chopped ones from supermarket. Yummy chicken and I share what Bakeling has said.

Elin Chia said...


The way you described the roasted chicken make me feel hungry.... I would want to try this out when the Piggies are back :) Thanks for sharing such a wonderful roast chicken recipe.


Tasmin said...

Hmm.have you ever tried making a stuffed-chicken before? @@...i want to try making it

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Tasmin, I'm sorry, I can't cook, I have not tried making a stuffed chicken!

gluten free pammy said...

nothing better than chicken & potatoes!

The Little Teochew said...

Hi HHB, I actually bought my oven more for roasting and grilling. Baking wasn't even on my list ;) I love the way your chicken turned out. Can almost smell it! I also roasted one yesterday, even simpler ... you might want to try another day?

Jin Ting said...


I beat the whipped cream and it became more watery as I beat it. Haha, dunno why also.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Jin Ting, looks like you have over-whipped the dairy cream, and it has separated. You can read about how to whip cream here: (
fyi, I use non-dairy whipping cream to frost a cake as I find dairy cream too creamy and rich for our liking. It is also easier to whip and it will not separate even if you over whip it.

Jin Ting said...


Thanks for the info, really appreciated it :) I'll try it the next time I baked :)

Anonymous said...


May I know where to get mixed herbs & rosemary ?

Can we get from chinese medical shop ?

Thanks for your advise.

Anonymous said...


Need to clarify, when you mention

"Return the potatoes to the same pot"

Is it with the water ?


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Ling, you can get dried mixed herbs from most supermarkets, there are two brands, McCormick or Masterfoods. They are different from Chinese herbs.

Hi Kim, you return the potatoes after draining them, without the water. Hope this helps.

agapejen said...

May I know what kind of rosting pan did you use? is it one with a aluminium net on it or is it like ordinary baking tray or disposable aluminium tray?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi agapejen, I don't have a roasting pan, but I am really tempted to get one (smaller size) from Ikea (which is about the only one available here that can fit into my small oven)!
I usually line my baking tray first with foil, then followed by a sheet of parchment paper. The chicken will stick to the foil unless you brush it with oil, so I use another sheet of parchment paper. When done cooking, simply remove the foil for easy cleaning. I use the potatoes as the 'rack'.

agapejen said...

Thanks. U know I was tempted to get a roasting pan..but I didn't consider the size of my oven! Thanks for this great reminder. I will take a look at the Ikea ones.

Stephanie said...

Hi, I would like to know the whole lemon you put to cook with the potatoes and put inside the chicken cavity is it a lemon without the zest but still with the white colour skin?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Stephanie, yes, after removing the zest, I use the lemon to cook with the potatoes and stuff it inside the cavity.

Diana said...

I have tried this recipe and it turned out really well. thanks so much for sharing this great recipe!

Touria said...

so delicious i find your recipe great
thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...


Thank yougir the wonderful recipe. Tried roasting the chicken last evening , it taste really good.


Unknown said...

Great recipe. I love chicken so much in non veg food and I love grilling chicken also on grill element, your photos look so good and professional.