I used rosemary as the main herb which I think is pretty unusual. I have always associated rosemary with a lamb dish. Surprisingly it does taste good with chicken and throughout the roasting process the smell of the herb filled my entire kitchen. The lemon zest added that extra citrus flavour to the meat. I made squashed roast potatoes (I thought the word "squash" was kinda cute) to accompany the roast chicken. I must say that the potatoes were really, really good! As they had been roasted whole, the skin was crunchy when eaten warm.
I would call the entire meal a delicious one and great for entertaining if you have guests.
Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon
1 whole chicken, medium sized 1 whole lemon (zest the lemon and leave the fruit whole)
5 springs of rosemary
2 1/2 Tbsp rock salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into very small cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1) Grind the rock salt, lemon zest and 2 sprigs of rosemary using a mortar or a food processor. Sieve the mixture. (The finer salt would be used to rub the outside of the chicken and the rest will be used to stuff the cavity of the chicken.)
2) Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. This will help get a crispy skin. Season the cavity with the coarser salt mixture. Then add in the remaining 3 sprigs of rosemary. Cut the lemon in half and stuff it into the cavity. Finally truss the legs of the chicken with some string.
3) Next push the small cubes of butter under the skin of the whole chicken. Try to get the butter underneath as much skin surface of the chicken as much as possible. As the butter melts in the oven, it penetrates the skin and flesh and makes it more flavourful.
4) Then use the finer salt mixture to rub over the entire chicken. Finally using a brush, coat the outside of the chicken skin with the olive oil. Don't use all the oil as you will be basting the chicken several times during the cooking process.
5) Heat the oven to 200C and roast the chicken for about 45 - 55 minutes. Cook breast side up first. Every 15 minutes of cooking time, remove the chicken and brush the whole chicken with olive oil. Turn the bird half way into cooking time, so that the underside gets brown as well.
6) To check if the chicken is thoroughly cooked, pierce the thickest part of the chicken with a skewer. If the juices run clear, then the chicken should be done. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before carving.
Squashed Roast Potatoes
350g small sized potatoes, washed and with skin
4 sprigs of rosemary
Boil the potatoes until they are cooked. Remove from pot and place onto a baking tray. Using a large spoon, squash the potatoes slightly and then place a small sprig of rosemary in each. Using some of the drippings from the roast chicken, cover all the potatoes and then roast in a 200C oven for about 35 – 40 minutes.