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Roast chicken is one of the great comfort foods. A favourite dish amongst many cultures, as evident by the many different variations and takes on the recipe found in cuisines from around the world.
Whether you like yours served plain or dripping in gravy, there is one universal sign of quality expected of a roast chicken. And that is a lightly crispy skin with a moist texture that peels off cleanly and effortlessly to reveal the meat that is still plump and juicy.
How do I get crispy skin on my roast chicken?
Achieving those delectable qualities is more than just turning the heat up. As it is with a lot of things in life, it all lies in the preparation.
A key factor in determining the quality of the chicken’s skin is drying it so that it becomes crispy after it is roasted. Most recipes outline patting the chicken skin dry with paper towels. While adequate, this method doesn’t prevent the chicken from releasing additional moisture that would dampen the cooked skin.
Step 1: Remove as much water from the surface as possible
To get that desired crispiness, start with a chicken thawed to room temperature. Then pat down the chicken with paper towels. Make sure areas like the “armpits” and legs are thoroughly dried as it traps a lot of moisture.
If you are baking a whole chicken, roll a paper towel into a ball and stuff it into the cavities to ensure that every drop of surface moisture is absorbed. This is to ensure that any leftover moisture doesn’t steam the chicken during the roasting process.
Step 2: Nip and tuck
If there are any herbs or stuffing (eg: chopped garlic or ginger), put some underneath the chicken’s skin. This lifts the skin from the meat, giving a double benefit of allowing the flavour to be better absorbed and the heat to flow beneath, giving a crispier skin.
Step 3: Salt for extra crispiness
With the stuffing done, proceed to season the skin of the chicken with salt. Ensure that every surface of the chicken gets covered.
Step 4: Perforate for perfection
To enhance the crispiness of the skin, poke tiny holes in the skin with a skewer. This gives the rendering fat a way to exit during the roasting process.
Step 5: Prepping for the roast
Don’t forget to tuck the wings under the bird and tie the legs together. Not only by doing this will the chicken look neat, but this also ensures that the chicken gets evenly cooked in the oven.
Step 6: Let it roast
Now the chicken is ready for roasting, put the chicken on a roasting rack to allow the heat to circulate around an evenly roast it. Place the chicken into a preheated oven of around 200°C to 230°C and let it roast.
To test if the chicken is done, use a skewer to pierce the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices that come out are clear, the chicken is cooked.
Step 7: Rest and then serve
After the chicken is roasted, take it out of the oven, slash the skin between the thighs and breasts to let excess steam out, and let it rest breast-side down for 20 minutes before serving.
And there you have it. Now you have the perfect roast chicken with its juicy flesh gift wrapped in an irresistible crispy skin. Peel away and enjoy your work with your favourite sides.
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