Italian roast chicken

Serves Icon
Time 01 Hour 45 Minutes
  • 1 x 1.7kg corn-fed chicken
  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Leaves of 4 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
  • Leaves of 2 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
  • 5 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ onion
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved horizontally
  • 1 teaspoon Ariosto
  • 1 chicken stock cube, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • 1kg potatoes, cut into large cubes
  • 2 ripe tomatoes roughly chopped, alternatively 200g Italian canned peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 125ml white wine
  • 4 tablespoons (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • Requires: aluminium foil

How to Make It
Step 1

Preheat the oven to 200°C conventional oven/ 180°C fan-forced (392° Fahrenheit/Gas 6).

Step 2

Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper inside the chicken’s cavity. Place the thyme, sage and half of the rosemary into a bowl with the butter and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 3

Loosen the skin over both chicken breasts by gently pushing your fingers underneath it. Push ¾ of the flavoured butter under the loosened skin so that it covers the whole breast. Rub the remaining flavoured butter over the skin of the breast and legs of the chicken.

Step 4

Place the onion, bay leaves and lemon inside the chicken’s cavity. Place the chicken in a roasting tray on top of the garlic cloves, breast side up and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle with Ariosto and pour over the chicken stock mixture. Roast for 15 minutes then remove from the oven.

Step 5

Place the potatoes and remaining rosemary in a mixing bowl. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Use your hands to gently toss to evenly coat the potatoes in the oil and herbs. Dot tablespoonfuls of the tomatoes over the potatoes, then once again gently toss to combine.

Step 6

Pour the white wine over the chicken and baste with pan juices. Then arrange the tomato and herb potatoes around the chicken. Reduce the heat to 180°C conventional oven/ 160°C fan-forced (356° Fahrenheit/Gas 4) and continue to cook, basting occasionally in pan juices, for a further 1 hour 20 minutes or until golden all over and cooked through (the juices should run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thigh).

Step 7

Remove the onion, lemon and bay leaves from the chicken’s cavity. Place the chicken on a serving dish, cover loosely with aluminium foil and set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes.

Step 8

Serve chicken with potatoes – buon appetito.


The recipe calls for tomatoes but the directions never mention when to use and how.

D A Scholz
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