Roast chicken recipe
No, I don’t have any pictures for you. I’m sorry. I made it on Sunday and just scoffed it within about 3 minutes.
But the main point I’m trying to make here is that a free range, organic chicken may seem expensive, but it can go far. With this tiny chicken (which cost £3.33, as it was 3 for £10 at M&S) I had 4 meals, for 2 people. So 8 portions. This is how I used 1 chicken:
Roast chicken dinner
chicken sandwiches for lunchbox
Click for chicken legs for peri peri chicken meal
So, first, the roast chicken dinner.
How to cook a basic roast chicken dinner
Check your chicken’s weight, and if you bought it from a supermarket, refer to the packaging for cooking/weight ratio. Always buy free range and organic, if possible – your meat will be tastier and you’ll be making sure not to make these chickens subjected to terrible conditions during their day-to-day lives.
If you bought from a butcher, you need to weigh it to work out how long to cook for. Your butcher should be able to give you a decent approximation anyway, but here’s a simple basic cooking rule –
roast in the centre of a preheated oven (190c) for 20 minutes per 450g (per 1 lb), plus 10-20 mins extra.
herbs/flavourings for chicken
potatoes (e.g. maris piper)
veg (e.g. carrots and broccoli)
fat e.g. olive oil or fat e.g. goose fat
splash of red/white wine
2 baking trays
For an average family bird of about 2.25kg (5lb), this comes to 1 hour 50 – 2 hours. Always go to the lower end of the spectrum, and check your bird – take a skewer or thin metal rod and insert it into the deepest/thickest part of the bird (usually the crevice between thigh and breast). If the juices have any colour, your chicken isn’t fully cooked. the juices should run clear.
Once your bird is cooked, leave it to rest for 20-30 minutes, covered in tinfoil and several layers of tea towel, to keep the heat in. This is the best way to ensure your chicken is moist and succulent.
First things first, get your veg chopped. What are you cooking? Whether you’re mashing or roasting, Get your potatoes scrubbed (peeled if you’re mental) and chopped (normally 1/3 or 1/4 of a normal sized potato is a decent size to boil) and covered in water in your pan. Get your veg chopped (carrots, for example, can be cut into pound-sized rounds) and under water in a pan too. Your veg can be put on to boil when you take out your chicken to rest.
Get your potatoes going now – boil them for 10 mins or so, until you can push a knife into your potato and it slips back off with ease. Whilst the water is coming to the boil, choose your chicken flavourings. A great combination is lemon, garlic and thyme. Other great options are orange and sumac, basil and garlic and sage and onion – if you like it, stuff it in!
So, for lemon, garlic and thyme, half your lemon and stuff each half up the chicken’s bum. Prod a couple of garlic cloves with a fork (no need to peel, but give them a stab to let the juices out) and stuff a handful of thyme up. That’s it for a small chicken, but if you have a big chicken, gently lift the skin and stuff slices of lemon and your herb under the skin – basil leaves or springs of thyme work great. Either way, now rub a little olive oil into the skin and season with a grind of pepper.
Chop an onion in half, and a carrot into big fingers, and put these with your bay leaf into the deeper of your two baking trays. Sit your chicken on top.
Get your oven on to preheat, and get a baking tray out for your veg. Get 2 tbsp of olive oil, or 1 tbsp of fat in the baking tray, and get it in the oven.
Drain your now ready potatoes, returning half to the pan and putting half into your now hot fat/oil. Get your chicken in at the same time – now the chicken countdown commences!
Now mash the potatoes you kept in the pan. With a knob of butter, a splash of milk and a scrunch of salt and pepper, mash your potatoes until you get them soft enough. Put the lid back on and return your mash to the (off) hob.
Your chicken will be ticking down now. Keep an eye on it. After 30-40 mins of cooking, give your roast potatoes a turn over in the oil/fat. If you prefer not to boil your carrots/other veg, you can stick everything in one pan – chop carrots, squash or parsnip and add around your roasties. These will only need 30-40 mins cooking.
Are the juices in your chicken running clear? If so, wahoo! Get it out of the oven, cover in tinfoil and teatowels and let it rest for at least 15 mins. Now get any veg you want to boil going – they probably need 5-10 mins depending on how hard and big they are (and how you’ve sliced them).
When your chicken is rested and your veg are ready to roll, put your mash on the lowest heat on the stove just to get a little bit of heat through. Take your chicken out of the pan, and the pan should be full of lovely juices (including flavour from the bay leaf, carrot and onion). Put the baking tray on the hob over a low heat. Add a splash of white or red wine (if you have a little spare), and a little flour (if your juices are too watery – if you need to add flour, make sure to whisk it quickly) and cook down for a couple of minutes to the desired consistency.
Now carve your chicken, strain your veg, plate up your roasties and cover it all with your gravy! Job done.