Different kind of roast chicken


In Portugal we care very much for the flavour of our potatoes, for this reason it’s important the potatoes are cooked with the meat juices to absorb their flavour.  This way of cooking produces amazing flavoured potatoes and it is an easy roast to look after.

Vinho de alho
We marinate nearly all meat in a simple marinade called, vinho de alho meaning garlic wine, sometimes adding other things like herbs or spices but it always starts with white wine and garlic and salt.  The curry vindaloo is a bastardisation of vinho de alho, from the time when Portugal occupied Goa.  My family’s simple marinade for roast chicken would be plenty of dry white wine, salt and pepper and slices of garlic, a bayleaf, leave it overnight in the fridge.

For a different take on my traditional Portuguese marinated roasted chicken I’ve taken to rub a dry marinade on the chickens the night before roasting.

different roast chicken 1

Dry rub marinade
These marinades are enhancement rather than marinades you would use to strongly flavour the meat.  This is roast chicken with the tastiest skin, the salt will dry the skin to create crispiness and the spices and herbs will flavour it.

different roast chicken 2

Make sure the marinade is rubbed all over the chicken, don’t forget the underneath of the chicken, it deserves attention too.


I enjoyed this one with just thyme and pink peppercorns, sea salt.  On this one I didn’t use olive oil to bind the salt & thyme to the chicken but if you need it just add a spoonful.

Choose waxy potatoes because they will not break during cooking.

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In the roasting tray put your new potatoes, sliced them lengthways for quick cooking, sprinkling of salt and pepper and just toss everything in a little olive oil to coat the potatoes.

Place your bird or birds on top of the potatoes, don’t worry too much about the ones underneath if you haven’t the room to move them sideways, add carrots and parsnips if liked.

Baste the chicken and potatoes at least twice during roasting, not only for good colour but also important exercise of letting the steam out while your meat is roasting to keep the oven air drier.


The chicken comes out for its necessary rest.

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The potatoes are not ready yet, while the chicken rests they go back in the oven, turn up the heat by a little, for another 15-20mins.


Dry rub roast chicken

4-6 servings

  • 1 large chicken, about 2kg / 4.4lbs
  • 1 level teaspoon of coarse sea salt (kosher), crushed lightly
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves chopped
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tsp sumac or 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed (optional)

To roast:

  • 1kg / 2 lbs potatoes, preferably waxy, sliced horizontally
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1-2 bayleaves
  • 4 carrots, sliced lengthways
  • 125-200ml / 1/2  cup white wine or chicken stock
  • 200ml / 3/4 cup water
  • salt & pepper
  • a little olive oil to drizzle over potatoes

If the chicken and potatoes are in a roasting tin that is too large the juices during cooking will evaporate too fast burning the potatoes and leaving no sauce.  Choose a roasting tin where chicken and potatoes fit fairly snug.

The day before roasting
Untie the chicken if necessary. Combine the salt, thyme and crushed choice spice and rub it it all over chicken making sure the back gets some too.  If you need use a spoonful of oil to stick the mixture to the chicken.  Refrigerate the chicken until the next day.  Give marinade 24 hrs to penetrate.  During cold weather I will marinade outside the fridge for 12hrs and weather is hot 4-6hrs.

Roasting day
Make sure you bring out the chicken an hour before cooking allowing to come to room temperature.  I don’t like to tie up my chicken because the thickest part between the thigh and the carcass takes longer to cook, it may not look as dainty on the serving but it means the thigh will cook quicker and the breast won’t suffer so much from over-cooking.

Preheat oven to fan 180˚C/ 200C / 400F / gas 6

Add the potatoes, carrots and onion, bayleaf to the roasting tin, sprinkle with salt, pepper and a touch of olive oil to coat the potatoes.  Place your chicken on top, if you can move the potatoes to the side of the tin, otherwise don’t worry.  Put the roast in the oven and depending on the size of your chicken and your oven, it will be ready between 1hr – 1hr 20mins.  During this time baste the potatoes and chicken 2-3 times.

To check pierce a skewer in the inside of the thigh meat next to the carcass and see on removing the skewer if the chicken juices run clear.  A less delicate way is to pull open the thigh leg and the juices between the thigh and body of the chicken should be clear.  When the chicken is ready bring it out to rest in a warm corner of the kitchen if the potatoes are looking anemic baste them put them back in the oven turning the temperature up by 10-20 more degrees until they’re done, check after 15 mins.