Garlic & Herbs Roast Chicken
Updated: Feb 1
A chicken roasted with a bouquet of herbs and garlic, a perfect recipe for a cloudy summer day.
I really love a roast chicken from time to time but prefer not to use the oven too much in summer and to cook meat on the "barbie" (BBQ). Australian summers can be very hot and so can our little home. But sometimes, on the cooler, rainy days, warming the oven does not over heat our house or attract a colony of flies at the door. I always buy free-range chicken from the butcher or local food shops (my backyard chooks are raised for eggs and companionship only). This recipe can of course be made in any season, but with freshly harvested garlic and herbs flourishing in the garden, it would be a shame not to use these seasonal flavours in a summer roast. Inspired by the French cuisine bouquet garni (garnished bouquet), I simply tie some herbs together and crush a few garlic cloves to insert in the cavity, which diffuses the aromas during the cooking process.
Herb bouquets and garlic from the garden • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2022
It was a bit of a new level challenge to make this recipe shoot. A good photogenic chicken roast is one of the most tricky things to produce in food photography. In the old recipe books (and still today in commercial photography), food stylists were using their magic tricks by painting on a raw chicken to make it look all shiny and perfect. That is a waste as after the shoot the chicken is non-edible. When you self-produce a food photography project, you want to enjoy the beautiful plates you have prepared. I also much prefer the natural look of real food like it's done today in editorial photography. I am quite proud of what I could achieve as after a few failed trials, I realised this was not going to be an easy one and had to plan a cool afternoon just for it. Once the chicken was cooked and looking good enough for my photo (no skin broken or burnt, ouf!), I had to work fast on the styling as the herb arrangement can spoil quickly. The chicken was smelling so good, which was making me hungry… and attracting flies (I often work outside on the deck for the natural light). Once my hero image was done, I took the one-shot chance to make a carving shot, and that was a wrap! I made a nice chicken salad for dinner and it was just de-lish. Mission accomplished!
The final cut shots • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021
Free range chicken (around 1.5 kg)
6 garlic cloves, crushed with peel on
Bouquet of fresh herbs (any of rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, tarragon and sage)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Sea salt (plain or flavour infused)
PREPARATION: Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
Rinse and dry the chicken with a paper towel.
Place on a baking dish and stuff the cavity with the herb bouquet and garlic.
Rub with oil, season and tie up the drumsticks
Bake 75 minutes* until the chicken reaches the inside safe cooked temperature**
Let it rest covered with foil for 10 minutes before serving.
*Adjust cooking time with the size of the chicken, which is 25 min per 500g
**Standards are a little different in Canada and Australia, I choose the highest, at 85C (180F).