Crispy Skinned Roast Chicken and Onion Gravy

My mother used to rub the skin on roast pork with a mixture of seasoning and baking powder to make it crispy. I tried a variation of this method on chicken with excellent results. One gets an even crispier skin if you loosen the skin over the breast and thighs, using this traditional South African roasting method.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 1 fresh chicken
  • Ina Paarman's Rosemary & Olive Seasoning
  • 1 T (15 ml) butter
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme
  • 1 t (5 ml) baking powder
  • 1 t (5 ml) cornflour (maizena)
  • 1 small lemon, cut into quarters
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • 6 – 8 medium potatoes, par boiled for 10 minutes
  • 2 T (30 ml) Ina Paarman's Roast Onion Soup & Gravy Powder
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
Method

Adjust the oven rack to once slot below the middle position. Preheat oven to 190°C. Make two lengthway slits on either side of the backbone with a sharp knife to serve as vents for the fat to drain out while the chicken is roasting. Use your fingers or the bowl of a wooden spoon to loosen the skin over the breasts and thighs. Poke a few holes in the skin with a sharp pointed knife or skewer. Season under the skin with Rosemary & Olive Seasoning and spread the butter over the breast meat under the skin.

Mix 3 t (15 ml) of the Rosemary & Olive Seasoning, baking powder and cornflour together and rub it well into the skin of the bird.

Place the lemon quarters and fresh rosemary into the cavity of the bird. Tie the two drumsticks together with string and tuck the wing tips underneath the chicken. Place the bird on a rack over a roasting pan, breast down. Do not cover! Roast uncovered for 30 minutes. No need to baste. Put the onion and potatoes in the pan under the rack so it cooks in the chicken juices.

Turn the chicken so the breast faces upwards. Turn the bird breast side up and roast for a further 30-40 minutes. To test for doneness: pierce deep into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done, otherwise give it another 15 minutes. Transfer the bird to a carving board and leave for 10 minutes, lightly tented with foil, to settle the juices before carving.

Make the gravy with the pan juices. Blot off the excess fat with absorbent kitchen paper or tilt the pan and spoon the fat off. Stir the Roast Onion Soup & Gravy Powder into the pan juices, add 1 cup of water and bring the gravy to the boil on top of the stove. Strain out the onion if you prefer a smooth gravy. Taste for seasoning. Serve chicken with gravy, roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables of your choice.

Ina's Tip

Once the chicken has been turned brush the skin with a little oil or chicken fat.

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