There’s nothing better than a well roasted home cooked chicken. A real family meal, it conjures up memories of everyone sitting around the dining room table – my brother and I fighting over the wish bone, Dad sneakily eating “carver’s perks”, and Mum happily digging into the roast vegetables.
Before stumbling across this recipe, however, mid-week roast chicken was not an option. It was strictly a weekend affair for when I had time to carefully guard the up-then-down, hot-less-hot oven temperature. This perfectly fool-proof method is by far the quickest and best way to roast a chicken and it means I can have my favourite meal any day of the week with relatively little effort.
I like to roast a chicken on a Monday or Tuesday so I have the meat for leftover meals for the rest of the week. A whole chicken can yield at least three meals for two people, which really helps to stretch out the budget.
Makes: Multiple servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
1 whole chicken
salt and pepper
1 lemon (optional)
50ml port/red wine
1 tsp cornflour for thickening
250ml chicken stock
Preheat your oven to HOT! As hot as it can go!
Heat a heavy based frying pan – preferably cast iron – over a high heat for ten to fifteen minutes.
While everything is getting hot, pat your chicken dry with some kitchen towel. Then liberally salt and pepper the whole chicken, cut the lemon in half and place it in the chicken cavity. Cut each onion into six pieces.
Place the chicken and onions into the frying pan and then straight into the oven.
After 30-40 minutes, check the chicken’s temperature by sticking a meat thermometer into the fattest part of the chicken (the thigh). Once it has reached 72 degrees Celsius it is ready. Baste the chicken at least once while it’s cooking, picking up the onions from the bottom of the pan and letting them crisp up on the chicken’s back.
Once the chicken is cooked, tip it upside down so all the juices run out into the roasting pan. Set it aside to rest (at least 10 minutes) covered in tin foil. Meanwhile, to make the gravy heat the roasting pan over a low heat and deglaze with the port or wine. Add in the the cornflour, dissolved into a thin paste with about 1 tbsp of water, and stir continuously until the gravy begins to thicken. Next, slowly pour in the chicken stock, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thickened and silky. Either leave the onions as they are and serve with the chicken or whizz them up and mix through the gravy for a little extra thickness. Season to taste.
Stuff a cut lemon into the chicken cavity.
Rub your favourite spice mix over the chicken skin.
In summer I like to serve my roast chicken with a light salad – cos lettuce, asparagus, capers, cucumber with a lemon dressing.
For the cooler months, a roast vegetable salad of honey glazed carrots, beets, tomatoes and onions.
Again – it depends what you have in your pantry!