Roast Chicken, South African-Style

Tina Wasserman
Recipe by
Tina Wasserman

This adaptation of Katie Osrin’s roast chicken, a family favorite, includes potatoes, apples, and ginger. Many varieties of apples are cultivated in South Africa, and the use of ginger is directly related to the spice route that made its way around the Cape of Africa.

1 whole chicken (4–5 pounds)
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1⁄2 Tablespoons grated, peeled, fresh gingerroot
1 apple (Fuji, Gala, or Jonagold)
1 medium onion
8 small red new potatoes, cut into quarters
2 Tablespoons rendered chicken fat or pareve margarine
1 Tablespoon honey (optional)
1⁄2 cup apple juice
1⁄2 cup chicken broth or water
  1. Using running tap water, rinse the chicken cavity well and drain. Place the chicken in a roasting pan large enough to leave 1–2 inches open around the sides.
  2. Combine the salt, ground ginger, and black pepper in a small glass dish.
  3. Sprinkle 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt-ginger-black pepper mixture throughout the inside of the chicken cavity and rub it into the cavity walls. Set aside.
  4. Core the (unpeeled) apple and cut into 16 pieces. Peel the onion and cut it into 16 pieces as well.
  5. Stuff the chicken cavity with as many apple and onion pieces as you can fit. Place any remaining pieces, along with the quartered potatoes, around the chicken in the pan.
  6. Thoroughly combine the chicken fat with the remaining dry spices, grated ginger, and honey (if using). Spread the mixture evenly all over the chicken skin, massaging the mixture well.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover the chicken with a tent of foil, making sure that the shiny side of foil is facing you.
  8. Pour the apple juice and chicken broth around the bird in the pan’s base.
  9. Roast for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours (if the bird is very large), then remove the foil tent. Baste with some of the juices at the bottom of the pan. Continue roasting the chicken until the leg can be moved easily, the breast meat is tender when pierced with a fork, and the skin is golden brown, approximately 15 to 30 minutes more depending on the size of the chicken.
  10. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes to reabsorb some of its juices.
  11. Carve and serve with the roasted vegetables and accumulated gravy.
Additional Notes
  • Be sure to salt the cavity of a chicken. It not only flavors the meat, it also prevents bacteria from growing.
  • To prevent poultry from overcooking, cover with the shiny side of foil facing you. Whereas the shiny side reflects the heat, the dull side out will absorb it, too rapidly cooking the white meat, making it dry and pasty.
  • Glazing your roasted poultry with a touch of honey will insure a beautiful golden brown skin on the bird.