Easy roast chicken

This is a relatively fast way to prepare an easy roast chicken dinner that’s full of flavour. Against the norm, I always cook my birds breast-side down as this way you get moist breast meat which has absorbed all the delicious flavours from the bottom of the tray. My mum taught me the ‘soy-sauce rub’ trick, which adds a lovely caramel dimension that is particularly good at this cooler time of year.

  • 2 hrs cooking
  • Serves 5
  • Print


  • 1 (1.8-2kg) free-range chicken (i used a brink’s chicken)
  • 3 whole bulbs garlic
  • 2 lemons, halved, plus 1 lemon cut into 4-5 thick slices
  • 2 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 190°C fanbake. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.
  • 2
    Break one garlic bulb into cloves; don’t peel them. Stuff a few cloves into chicken cavity along with one lemon half and one thyme sprig. Place lemon slices in a single layer in centre of roasting tray and top with remaining loose garlic cloves and thyme.
  • 3
    Place chicken, breast-side down, on top of this lemon and garlic ‘trivet’.
  • 4
    Rub soy sauce all over top of chicken. Cut top off remaining garlic bulbs to reveal the cloves. Place bulbs, cut-side up, around chicken along with remaining lemon halves (these flavours make for a delicious gravy; we also squeeze out and eat the sticky flesh from the roasted garlic bulbs – but not when we have guests!).
  • 5
    Drizzle chicken generously with olive oil, pouring a little onto garlic bulbs and lemon to prevent burning. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper.
  • 6
    Roast in the oven for approximately 50 minutes-1 hour or until juices run clear when skin is pricked with a sharp knife. (I test my chicken at the thickest part where the leg sits close to the breast; the juice should be golden and clear with no sign of redness.) Rest chicken for 15 minutes before carving.
  • 7
    Serve with mashed potatoes and apple and hazelnut slaw.

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