Turns out, the secret to Matt Moran's roast chook is salt water!


  • 1 chicken (about 1.8kg)

  • 2 litres water

  • 240 gm salt

  • 1 head of garlic, halved, plus 1 garlic clove extra, finely chopped

  • 4 thyme sprigs

  • 1 cinnamon quill

  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, reserve lemon for stuffing, plus extra wedges to serve

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 20 gm butter, diced

  • 1 brown onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 tsp each coarsely crushed coriander seeds and cumin seeds

  • 180 gm long grain rice, such as basmati

  • 50 gm small green lentils or brown lentils

  • 200 ml dry white wine

  • 500 ml chicken stock

  • Thick natural yoghurt and coarsely chopped mint and flat-leaf parsley, to serve


  • 1.

    Preheat oven to 200°C. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water, pat dry with absorbent paper and season inside and out. Bring to the boil the water and salt, place the chicken in the liquid and brine for 1 hour, leaving the liquid to go cold, then take the chicken out.

  • 2.

    Quarter reserved lemon and stuff the chicken cavity with it, along with the garlic head, cinnamon and thyme, tuck wings under and tie legs together with kitchen string.

  • 3.

    Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add chicken, turn occasionally until browned on all sides, set aside.

  • 4.

    Meanwhile, add oil and butter to a flameproof casserole large enough to fit the chicken and heat over medium-high heat until butter foams, add onion and chopped garlic, stir occasionally for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Add lemon rind, coriander seeds and cumin seeds and stir until fragrant. Stir in rice and lentils to coat, add wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add stock, bring to the boil, add chicken to pan, cover with a tightly fitting lid, bake for 35-40 minutes until chicken is cooked through and rice and lentils are tender. Remove from oven and stand, still covered with the lid for 10 minutes, then season to taste and serve with thick yoghurt, mint, parsley and roast carrots, with lemon wedges.

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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Listen to Matt's roast chook cooking tips in the podcast, Can't Live Without.

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