Dorah Sitole’s Perfect Roast Chicken

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Dorah Sithole's Perfect Roast Chicken, from her last cookbook '40 Years of Iconic Cooking, Sonia Cabano blog eatdrinkcapetown food
Dorah Sitole’s Perfect Roast Chicken, from her last cookbook, ’40 Years of Iconic Cooking’
African food legend, cook, food editor and writer, Dorah Sitole Sonia Cabano blog eatdrinkcapetown
African food legend, cook, food editor and writer, Dorah Sitole

African food legend, cook, food editor and writer Dorah Sitole, died recently. Much-loved and treasured, her passing leaves a gap that can never be filled.

She said “I believe we are on the cusp of an African food revolution. With this book, I seek to strike a balance between paying homage to traditional cooking methods and putting my own, modern, interpretation on authentic dishes.”

’40 Years of Iconic Food’ is a celebration of Dorah Sitole’s own culinary journey, which has taken her from a hungry childhood in the townships to kitchens and cuisines across Africa and beyond.

Her remarkable career in food has led to her becoming the exceptional food icon and beloved household name that she is today.

Dorah Sitole was the former editor and food editor of True
Love magazine.

An accomplished food writer, food stylist, recipe developer and a trained Cordon Bleu chef, Dorah travelled and cooked internationally, showcasing South African cuisine in places like Memphis, Tokyo and Rome. Dorah lived in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

Her last cookbook, ’40 Years of Iconic Cooking’, was recently published by Human & Rousseau.

To celebrate her life and work, we share with you the recipe for Dorah’s Perfect Roast Chicken, which is in her book. Enjoy!

The perfect roast chicken

Serves 4-6

Ingredients for chicken:

1.75 kg whole chicken
salt and ground black pepper
1 lemon
1 onion
6 whole cloves
4 medium potatoes
50 g butter, melted

Stuffing ingredients:

200 g minced beef
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100 g (1 cup) fresh bread crumbs
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
65 ml (¼ cup) chopped fresh, rinsed and patted dry Italian parsley (use absorbent kitchen paper to pat dry the parsley before chopping it
100 g butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
salt and ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Wipe the chicken inside and out, and season generously
    with salt and pepper. Slice the lemon in half, and stick the cloves into the onion. Insert lemon halves and onion in the cavity of the chicken.

Peel and quarter the potatoes.

  1. Make the stuffing by mixing all the ingredients together. Use some of the stuffing to stuff the neck end of the bird by lifting the skin and spreading the stuffing as low as you can go along the breast, making sure not to tear the skin.

  2. Fold the neck skin over the stuffing to enclose it and secure the skin to the flesh with toothpicks. Shape the rest of the stuffing into little balls.

  3. Insert the lemon halves and onion into the cavity of the bird. Truss the chicken with kitchen string to keep it in shape; cross the drumsticks, tie securely with a string and fasten to the tail.

  4. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan. Brush with the melted butter. Arrange the stuffing balls and peeled, quartered potatoes around the chicken.

Cover chicken with foil and cook for 60 minutes. Remove the foil 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, to allow chicken to brown.
6. Serve chicken with the roast potatoes and your choice of vegetables in season, and gravy made with the pan drippings.

Roasting times:
Allow 20 minutes per 450 g plus an extra 20 minutes in a hot oven 200 °C.
If the chicken is over 2.5 kg e.g. Cornish hens, lower the heat to 180 °C.

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Celebrating life with food, wine, friends & happiness! Writer, cook and blogger. Author of four cookbooks. Passionately South African, proudly Capetonian.