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August 13, 2022

Granny’s Roast Chicken – how did she know about Umami?

Posted on April 12, 2017 by in Chicken

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Granny's Roast Chicken

Granny’s Roast Chicken is the best. I bet you all had a granny who could cook, right?

Granny’s Roast Chicken is nothing fancy, no expensive ingredients or modern methods. It is just the simple things done simply right! I know the older generation had time and when it comes to cooking meat, time is your best friend. At the moment though, I think we fill our days with un-important things and the important things are left behind. Like roasting a chicken perfectly, that’s important, so make time!

So here are my take on Granny’s Roast Chicken, based on what I have learned from her through observing her and my mom, who again learned it from my gran. People often as me what UMAMI is, well when you are don roasting the chicken, the Marmite-like sticky stuff in the bottom of the casserole, that is the taste called UMAMI.

Granny's Roast Chicken

The Chicken


The first prize is always to find a plump farm chicken from a reputable farmer. The chicken will always be significantly bigger and the flesh darker when cooked. This would be known as an Organic chicken. To qualify as organic, poultry must contain 95% natural ingredients, excluding salt and water.


This label means is that the chickens had some access to an outdoor environment for grazing. It says nothing about anti-biotics, water etc. So don’t be fooled. Do the research.

Granny's Roast Chicken

Cooking Method


If you have time on your hands and you have a good cast iron pot, pot roast chicken is really delicious and the ritual and  rhythm of adding a little water or wine every now and then is like therapy.


If you feel like Granny’s Roast Chicken, but time is your enemy, let the oven do the work for you. All you need is a casserole with a lid that is big enough for the chicken and maybe some potatoes.

Spices and Herbs

If you buy a good organic chicken, you really need as little as possible to complete the recipe. Keep it simple, see recipe below.

Granny's Roast Chicken

Granny’s Roast Chicken

serves 4 with


1.5 – 1.7 kg organic chicken

juice of 1 lemon

30 ml Olyfberg olive oil

salt and pepper – season properly, inside and outside, as well as the giblets

4 whole cloves – this is very important

fresh thyme or sage

a little water – about 200 ml

8 potatoes – peeled and cut in quarters


Preheat oven to 180 C. Place chicken on a wooden board, pat the chicken dry with kitchen towel. Squeeze the lemon juice all over the chicken. Rub the olive oil over the chicken and then season with salt and pepper. Place the bunch of herbs in the chicken’s cavity. Place the bird in the casserole, add the cloves and the water and place lid on. Roast for 1 hour, add the potatoes and roast for another 30 min with lid on. Remove the lid and roast until golden brown and all the water has evaporated.

Ps: it is difficult to say exact times, you have to feel it.

Granny's Roast Chicken

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