One of the best ways to keep a roast chicken moist, especially the breast, is to wet-roast it, so part of the time the breast is lying down. Some of our chickens are so rangy, with such long legs and sharp angled breast bones, that we end up cooking them on their side the whole time.
- 2 kg chicken
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- olive oil
- 125 ml (½ cup) water
- Maria’s mushroom sauce, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Rinse the chicken well and pat dry with paper towel. Loosen the skin around on the breast and push the butter up under the skin. Rub the skin liberally with salt and pepper, perhaps using a light film of olive oil to help it stick.
Place the chicken on its side in a small roasting dish and add the water to the dish. Roast for 20 minutes on this side, then turn onto the other side and roast for another 20 minutes. Turn so the breast faces up (legs sticking up in the air) and continue roasting for a further 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Check by inserting a knife down into the join between the thigh and body, and there should be no pink juices or meat. A fan-forced grill option on the oven is handy to brown the skin if it isn’t already brown at this stage.
Cover with foil and rest the chicken for 10 minutes, before cutting into four or carving and serving, using all that yummy juice in the base of the roasting dish as gravy, or serve with Maria’s mushroom sauce.