RECIPE: My first roast chicken

My first blog post is actually about my first experience of cooking a Roast chicken.  As a quite (I like to think) experienced cook it may seem unusual that I have never tackled such a traditional and some might say easy meal before, but I cook chicken so often in so many different forms that when it comes to a roast I always opt for pork or beef.

When I was growing up my Mother very rarely cooked any other type of roast than chicken, red meat “doesn’t agree with her” and my sister, was am incredibly picky eater as a child and refused to eat anything but, so more often than not we would have a roast chicken 2 or 3 times a week.  The fact I OD’d on it as a child may explain my lack of inclination to cook it now.

The willing guinea pigs for my first chicken roast were my boyfriend Nick (Mr Puddings & Pies), his sister Emily and her partner Steve.   Mr P&P  will eat anything that’s put in front of him but Em and Steve are MASSIVE foodies who have eaten their way around the world and love to cook.  No pressure then…..

In all honesty I don’t even make roasts very often, sheer laziness often results in heading to the pub for Sunday lunch with all the trimmings.  In my opinion the best roast in Brighton is at the Walmer Castle, they do up to 10 different kinds of meat, ENORMOUS (even if a little overcooked sometimes) Yorkshire puddings and about 8 vegetable accompaniments for £8.95.  I used to think that the Lion & Lobster could not be beaten, but they’ve upped their price, reduced their portion sizes and they, rather cheekily I think, charge for Yorkshire puds if you haven’t picked the beef option. Only 40p, but it’s the principle.

Anyway I digress, like I said I don’t often cook roasts, but when I do I like it to be like Christmas!

On the menu this Sunday was:

Roast Chicken stuffed with lemon & garlic

Roast potatoes (2.5kg)

Carrots, swede and parsnips- roasted

Cauliflower & broccoli cheese

Steamed leeks & runner beans

Yorkshire pudding (shamefully not homemade)

I’ve always teased my Mother mercilessly for her inability to coordinate a roast dinner, but actually, unless you have a huge oven it is pretty difficult to time it all to perfection but the way I did it it worked out pretty well.

Preheated oven 

Peeled and chopped all of veg for roasting

Prepared chicken

Steamed broccoli and cauliflower heads and then broke into florets

Put chicken into the oven & preheated the oil & roasting tin for the roast potatoes

While the oil is preheating parboil the potatoes

Add the potatoes to the oil and leave in the oven for an hour then check, I actually left mine in for nearly 1.5 hours

Make the cheese sauce.

Remove the chicken from the oven and leave to rest

Put in the cauliflower & broccoli cheese and Yorkshire puddings

Make the gravy and transfer to a warmed jug and cover

Steam the vegetables.

Lemon & Garlic Roasted Chicken

1.9kg free range chicken (I used corn fed)

1/3  block of softened butter

1 lemon halved

1 bulb of garlic skin on and halved across the bulb

1 onion cut into wedges

Plain flour

Chicken stock (I used one of the jelly stock pots)

  • Preheat the oven to 200
  • Put the chicken breast side up in a deep roasting tin and rub softened butter all over the chickens legs, sides and breasts. Squeeze the juice of one of the lemon halves all over the chicken breast and put in the roasting tin with half the garlic bulb and the onion wedges.  Tuck the remaining lemon and garlic into the chicken cavity.
  • Place in the oven for 45 minutes per kilo of chicken with an extra 20 minutes on the end.  I left uncovered for the first and last 30 minutes and covered loosely in tin foil for the middle part of cooking to ensure the bird didn’t dry out or the skin overcook.
  • Remove the chicken from the tin and wrap tightly in foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Put the roasting tin on a medium heat on the cooker top and bring the juices up to a gentle simmer.  Remove the lemon from the tin & mash up the garlic and onion with a fork and continue to simmer.  I then added a tbsp of flour and whisked it in.  You may need more or less flour depending on how much gravy you have, then I added ½ pint of stock, unwrapped the chicken and added it’s released juices to the gravy and brought back to the boil until it had reduced by 1/3. Remove from the heat and strain into a warmed jug.
  • Serve immediately.

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