I have a confession to make… Turkeys scare me… alive or dead they terrify me. So the last thing I was going to make on Thanksgiving was a turkey! What if it turned out terribly then I would have been responsible ruining Thanksgiving. Roast chicken was the new turkey last week in our house. I am, after all, only afraid of live chickens… not the delicious organic ones we bought plucked, gutted and ready for cooking! By the way, just to explain the title for those not familiar with the term “Chook”, that’s what we down in the Southern Hemisphere will often refer to a chicken as… Now onto roasting the chooks.

I decided to keep this simple and just season the chicken and stuff it with a simple stuffing. The stuffing was a combination of whole wheat bread, 8 slices broken into pieces, chopped fresh thyme, rosemary and sage (about 1 tablespoon of each), 120 grams of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. I mixed all of this together, added some salt and pepper and set it aside.

The chickens themselves I seasoned inside and out with salt and pepper. Then the difficult task of sliding big chunks of butter under the skin and squishing it so it is spread all over the chicken was next… This is so messy but definitely worth it for the quality of skin and the juiciness of the chicken at the end.

Now it was time to stuff them. Into each chicken I put ½ a lemon and squeezed it right down the end. I added 4 smashed garlic cloves to each as well before I halved the stuffing mixture and pressed it in firmly. The stuffing amount was perfect for the two chickens.

Before I finished seasoning the chicken I made two little beds for them to sit on in the roasting pan. First I put down 2 thick slices on lemon for each chicken. I also cut an entire bulb of garlic in half and put that down with the lemons. On top of this I added sprigs of thyme, rosemary and sage. I then just placed the chickens downon each bed, carefully balancing them.

Last thing to do was to finish seasoning the top of each chicken. I just sprinkled a little garlic salt and some paprika on top before drizzling olive oil all over them. I got in there with my hands and rubbed the oil into the skin too just to make sure it was really well covered. Into the oven they went. I had preheated it to 475F degrees but when they went into the oven I dropped it down to 400F degrees.

They were in the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes and I turned them (as in which way they were facing in the oven) after 40 minutes. I only did this to make sure the top brown evenly all over. For the last 20 minutes I covered the top of the chooks with aluminum foil to stop them burning. When they were ready J. took them out of the oven, he did the heavy lifting because the roasting pan and chickens were too big and awkward for me to lift. We let them rest for 20 minutes.

I was so very pleased with how these turned out. The skin was full of flavor but still nice and crispy and then the chicken itself was moist and perfectly cooked. They were a triumph. J. was incredibly happy with his thanksgiving meal, even if it wasn’t traditional… well we are starting a new tradition of roasting and stuffing chooks for the day instead of those terrifying turkeys!

  1. Kids 'n Dogs says:

    I’d never cooked a turkey before, but I recently won a smoker and decided to break two cherries at once and make a turkey the first thing I put on the smoker. Living dangerously, I know. No brining, just a wet rub and loosely stuffed with some aromatics; added sherry, hard cider and beer to the water pan at different intervals. Took about four hours to cook, but it was actually very tasty and no one became ill from it.

    Get a smoker and conquer your fear of turkey.

  2. beautiful chickens! they look delicious!

  3. Eva says:

    Looks delicious! Though honestly Americans usually make turkey once a year for thanksgiving, so part of the fun is guessing whether or not it’ll be edible 🙂

    If you ever do decide to make a turkey, I recommend brining it.

  4. juliabarrett says:

    Your chickens look so amazing! Turkeys are super easy. Once you get it, cooking a turkey is a no-brainer. The trick is to keep the bird moist and ignore the standard operating procedures. And never ever brine a turkey. Blech. The only time I made a bad dry turkey was when I listened to all the chefs and brined my turkey.

  5. When I was veggie, I missed roast chicken more than anything, you have reminded me why, so thanks! My Friday night favourite roast!

  6. foodieboomboom says:

    Haha, don’t be scared of the turkey you can cook it pretty much exactly the same way as you have with these chickens it just takes longer! The chooks do look fab though, I might have to do a roast at the weekend now.

  7. Tina T. says:

    Looks DELICIOUS! Thanks for sharing!

    -Tina from http://ohsnapletseat.wordpress.com

  8. Yum, this looks so good

  9. PigLove says:

    mmmm – they look heavenly. I myself LOVE chicken. Mom gives me some at times. Yours looks devine and I would be in pig heaven! XOXO Bacon

  10. Janet Rörschåch says:

    Lovely, but, honestly, face your fears. Julia Child can help you with that. Check out NPR’s Julia Child’s Thanksgiving dinner. Above looks beautiful. Think what you will a hive with a bigger bird.

  11. corettavick says:

    That was my choice of meat thanksgiving. I roasted a Hen. Great post.

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