This succulent roast chicken is a classic dish you can enjoy at any time of the year. Of course, it makes for a great Sunday roast! It is a versatile meal that you can dress up or down, making it perfect for anything from a weeknight dinner to a special occasion.
Use sage butter for a really succulent roast chicken
While there are many ways to prepare roast chicken, one way to make it even more succulent is by stuffing sage butter between the breast meat and skin. This recipe does just that.
Sage is a herb that’s been used for centuries in cooking. It has a slightly bitter, earthy flavour that pairs really well with poultry. When combined with butter, it creates a rich, flavourful mixture that can used add moisture and depth to your roast chicken.
Stuffing sage butter under the skin may sound daunting, but it is actually quite simple. To start, soften butter at room temperature and mix it with finely chopped sage leaves. Then, gently lift the skin on the breast of the chicken and carefully spread the sage butter mixture underneath. This will create a barrier that helps to keep the breast meat moist while also infusing it with flavour. This can be a messy job – you have to get your fingers right in there – but it’s well worth the effort.
Once you’ve applied the sage butter, roast the chicken as normal. The result is a juicy, flavourful bird that’s sure to impress. The sage butter adds a subtle depth of flavour that complements the natural taste of the chicken. It also helps to stop the meat drying out, making for a more succulent finished product.
White wine gravy? This just gets better and better!
To enhance the flavours of your sage butter succulent roast chicken, serve it with a white wine gravy. Place onions, celery, garlic, and carrots, plus thyme and bay leaves into the roasting tin. Plonk the chicken on top, then pour water or chicken stock, and white wine, over the veg. After cooking the chicken, you can mash the veg, then strain and use the cooking juices to make a delicious gravy.
Sage butter is a simple and effective way to make your roast chicken even more succulent and delicious. By adding this herb-infused butter mixture under the skin, the breast meat stays moist and the flavours are enhanced. When paired with a white wine gravy, this roast chicken will be elevated to next-level crowd pleaser status.
Although not strictly required, I also use streaky bacon in this recipe. Place it over the bird (like you would with a roast Christmas turkey); it works with the sage butter to help keep the breast meat extra moist.
Timings here are based on a 1kg (2lb) bird.
Succulent roast chicken with own white wine gravy
- 1 chicken giblets removed
- 6 rashers streaky bacon
- 0.5 lemon fresh
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 handful fresh sage chopped
- 30 g butter unsalted
- 500 ml chicken stock
- 250 ml white wine
- 3 carrots roughly chopped
- 4 sticks celery roughly chopped
- 2 onions large
- 1 bulb garlic cut in half horizontally
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 pinch sea salt
- black pepper
For the sage butter
- in a bowl, mix the butter, chopped sage, 1tsp of lemon juice (squeezed from your half a lemon) and season with a little salt and pepper. You may need to warm the butter a little so it’s slightly melted (but not liquid)
For the roast chicken
- preheat your oven to 190C (370F; gas mark 5)
- in a deep roasting tray, place the garlic, onions, carrots, celery and the half lemon
- place the chicken on top of the veg in the roasting tray
- working from the back of the chicken, carefully prise the skin away from the breasts, without cutting or tearing it, to create a pocket between each breast and the skin. The best way to do this is by working your fingers carefully between the breast meat and skin
- using your hands, stuff nearly all of the butter and sage mixture into the pockets, rubbing it into the meat. Make sure you pull the skin back down so that no meat is exposed, else it will dry out in cooking
- rub the remaining sage and butter mixture over the bird’s skin, then place the streaky bacon on top of the bird
- pour the stock and white wine over the vegetables, then add the thyme and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper
- place the roasting tray in the centre of your oven until the chicken is fully cooked. To check when its cooked: the juices should run clear when you pierce the thickest, deepest part of the thigh with a skewer
- Once cooked, set the chicken aside to rest before carving. Keep the roasted veg and cooking liquid – you’re now going to use that to make the gravy
For the gravy
- using a potato masher, slightly crush and mash the vegetables and herbs
- drain the juices from the roasting tray into a large saucepan, using a conical sieve or fine-mesh colander. Discard the veg (or you can retain it and make stock from the chicken carcass once you’ve finished with it – it’s up to you! Making stock is really easy; see the recipe elsewhere on this site)
- heat the gravy and reduce to the desired consistency, if necessary adding the cornflour to thicken it