There was a time when I didn’t think I liked chicken.  But what I really didn’t like was dry, boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  A whole roast chicken is a completely different story.  A whole roast chicken is divine.

Today, I tried out a new preparation for whole roast chicken.  And I have to say, it was freakin’ delicious.  The 5-spice-soy-sesame-honey marinade, yum!  The dark, crispy skin, yum!  The juicy, succulent (super moist) meaty Belle Rouge chicken from Violet Hill Farm, yum, yum, yum!

Words from the farmers [Violet Hill Farm]: ‘Why Belle Rouge?  Slower growth, the ability to forage seasonally, lots of space and a diet high in flax and alfalfa (and a happy chicken life) make these birds delicious.  The best chicken you’ve ever tasted… don’t believe us?’ …

I’m a believer! 

It was so good, I couldn’t stop eating, even though my belly was sufficiently stuffed and happy.  I couldn’t seem to put my fork down.  One more bite.  No, just one more bite…

Am a recipe collector.  I have several notebooks filled with handwritten recipes and notes and sketches I’ve jotted down.  Then there are the recipes pinned on my Pinterest page, files saved on the computer with more recipes, binders full of recipes, a 100+ cookbook collection (and growing; I just ordered two more, this one and this one).  With so many recipes in so many places, it’s hard to keep track of them all.  Many I’ve long forgotten about, some I have all the best intention of getting around to, and some sounded like a good idea at the time, but no longer pique my interest.

However, an overabundance of recipes never seems to deter me from seeking out more.  Recently stumbled across this recipe to add to my collection — A Chinese Style Roast Chicken (from Rasa Malaysia).

Bought a small, three-pound chicken and was excited to give it a go.  So I gathered the ingredients for the marinade (most of which I already had at home, bonus), whisked them together, and marinated the chicken overnight.  Seemed straight forward enough.  The thing is…

I neglected to read the rest of the recipe closely enough…you need to air-dry the chicken for 3+ hours (Rasa Malaysia says at room temperature, but I opted for uncovered in the fridge) to help dry out the skin.

Why even bother air-drying a chicken?  The dryer the skin when it goes in the oven, the crispier the skin (and who doesn’t like crispy skin?).  Patting your bird with paper towels will remove a bit of moisture.  But to get the skin really dry, you can air dry for several hours.

On a side note, I’ve never bought a chicken that still had the feet (and nails) attached.  The chicken feet and neck are definitely going to make a nice stock.

Marinate the chicken overnight.

The next day, scald the chicken with boiling water to remove the marinade.  Pat dry and then air-dry for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, coat the chicken with a mixture of oil and honey, and then let it air-dry for three hours.

And then roast.  The result…DELICIOUS!!

Poured the drippings from the roasting pan over the rice (yum).

Are all of the above steps absolutely necessary??  I’m not entirely sure, but the end result was spot on. If it ain’t broke…


Chinese-style Roast Chicken

Adapted from Rasa Malaysia
1 chicken, about 3 to 3 1/2 lbs
4 garlic, lightly pounded
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced


3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Shaoxing wine or dry Sherry (used Sherry)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt and few grinds of black pepper

Skin Coating:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
In a small bowl, mix the marinade ingredients.  Rub the marinade generously all over the skin of the chicken and inside the cavity.  Insert the garlic and ginger inside the cavity.  Transfer the chicken to a large Ziploc bag.  Pour the remaining marinade into the bag.  Marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator.

The next morning, remove the chicken from the plastic bag, discard the garlic and ginger from the cavity.  Scald the chicken with hot boiling water by pouring all over the chicken (this will remove the marinade on the chicken skin).  Air-dry the chicken for about 30 minutes at room temperature or until the skin surface is no longer wet.  You can turn on a fan to aid in the process. 

In a small bowl, mix the skin coating ingredients.  Rub/brush the skin coating mixture evenly on the chicken skin.  Continue to air dry (uncovered in the fridge) for about 3 hours.  Turn the chicken over to air-dry both sides.  Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking. 
Heat the oven to 400F. 

Tie the legs of the chicken together with kitchen twine.  Place the chicken, breast side down, in a roasting pan (on the lower rack) and roast for 25 minutes, and then *flip so the breast side is now facing up [If the chicken browns too quickly, cover it with a layer of aluminum foil and remove the foil towards the end so the skin doesn’t get too dark too quickly.].  Roast for another 25 to 35 minutes or until the skin turns nicely golden brown (and a thermometer reads 160F to 165F in the meatiest part of the thigh — not touching bone).
Remove from the oven, let rest 15 minutes. Serve with steamed rice and a side of greens.  Save the juices from the roasting pan and serve with the steamed rice.  

*There are different schools of thought regarding the necessity of flipping the chicken during the roasting process.  Thoughts?  Perhaps, spatchcocking/butterflying (i.e., removing the backbone) the chicken would be a suitable alternative?  

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