IS there anything better than roast chicken? Honestly – can you actually think of anything better? Ok, a good burger, a chippie fish and chips and a perfectly crisp pizza are good, but roast chicken has to be up there with Great British Food. People may mock the ‘meat and two veg’ approach to cooking, but it’s healthy, filling and delicious, so why not?
It might seem strange to be cooking a roast on a work night, but apart from cutting up the veggies you don’t actually have to do anything. You might need a little snackette to keep you going until it’s ready though.
I do mine in a huge Le Creuset dish with the lid on, so it doesn’t go particularly crispy, but it does stay lovely and moist – essential for roast chicken. I remove the skin anyway, saint that I am. One tip I learnt from the brilliant Simon Hopkinson (although it’s not mentioned in the Guardian’s ‘The Perfect….’ series which I like consulting) is to remove the whole breast when carving, and then carve the breast widthways, rather than lengthways. It’s a little tricky to explain why it works – to do with the way the fibres of the meat are cut – but try it – it means very juicy pieces of meat every time!
This is my other half’s absolute most favouritist meal ever, and it’s up there with my favourites too, so we have it a lot. I always buy free range chickens now as apart from ethical considerations – they’re so much tastier. I also always buy a huge bird, so that there’s lots of leftovers. I do loads of veggies while this is cooking for the same reason. This chicken cost £8 – but we’ll get 4 roast chicken dinners, 4 portions of pie (on my Meal Planning Monday this week), and about 6 portions of soup from the stock, so it’s well worth doing it this way rather than buying chicken breasts.
Here’s the recipe. This is my ‘quick’ version which means all the veggies get roasted as the chicken’s cooking and resting. The ‘supreme’ version has proper roast potatoes which have been peeled and par boiled, mashed carrots and turnip, and sometimes stuffing – but I’ll leave that for another day.
(serves 4 for the main ‘dinner’ then 4 more for pie, then 6 more for soup)
1 large chicken, patted dry
8 carrots, chopped into chunks
8 parsnips, chopped into chunks
splash of olive oil
any other veg you fancy – I do whatever’s in season – celeriac’s good at the moment
4 large baking potatoes, chopped into wedges
8 leeks, chopped into thick rounds
250g frozen peas
1. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees
2. Cook for approximately 1.5 hours (but check the weight and make sure it’s cooked though – all clear juices when you pierce it with a skewer!) and then leave to rest for half an hour.
3. Half an hour into the chicken cooking time (if it needs 1.5 hours), splash some olive oil over the potatoes, carrots and parsnips and roast for an hour.
4. Around 10 minute before you want to eat, microwave the leeks and peas for 5 minutes each.
5. Carve the chicken and serve.