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Delia shows how to cook The Best Roast Chicken. There are many ways to roast a chicken, but what we're looking for is a crisp, golden skin on the outside, and tender and very moist within. The best way to achieve this is what Delia calls fast roasting on the highest temperature possible. When you buy a chicken it needs to be plump and healthy looking and a good one should have a little band of fat along the breast. A small free range chicken will serve 4 people. For fast roasting, cut the strings and remove them, open out the chicken and leave it aside for about an hour, or 30 minutes, if its a hot day because for fast roasting the chicken needs to be at room temperature.
Place the chicken in a good solid medium sized roasting tin, season it with freshly milled black pepper and some salt. Pre-heat the oven to its highest setting 230C or Gas Mark 8. Place in the lower third of the oven. Now for the easy bit, go away and leave it for 45 minutes without opening the door, put a timer on to remind you. After 45 minutes check the chicken is cooked, give the leg a tug to see if it has some give. You can also insert a skewer in the thickest part of the leg. If the juices run clear the chicken is cooked, and if not give it another 5 minutes.
Loosen the chicken underneath. Insert a wooden spoon inside the chicken and using an oven glove to protect your hands, turn it up to empty all the juices into the roasting tin to make a sauce and now place the chicken on a carving board. Remove the spoon and cover the chicken with some foil and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes. Why does it need to rest? This is because the high heat of the oven brings all the juices up to the surface and whilst the chicken relaxes it allows all those precious juices to seep back into the flesh.
Delia moves on to show how to carve and portion the chicken.