I have always subscribed to the view that to cook a perfect roast chicken you need to cook it at as low a temperature as possible while also finding a way to brown it. Starting it off at a high heat and then lowering the dial is the standard method. I like the leg meat to be well done and tender, but of course I don’t want the breast meat to dry and toughen.
I bought a small Cotswolds chicken (1.4kg). I put it in the top of the oven at gas mark 6, 200C. Forty-five minutes later, I transferred it to the bottom shelf, replacing it with a roasting pan of potatoes. I took the chicken out of the oven 40 minutes later.
It was perfect. The legs were very tender, and the breast – I had massaged butter in between the skin and the meat – was still moist.
Sometimes, or rather quite often now I think about it, food does not behave how science says it should. I do recommend Cotswold chickens.
Roast chicken, with its stock
Heston's roast chicken