If there’s one thing I miss about home, it’s our Sunday Roast. Every week we’d cook a different meat with all the trimmings, but roast chicken has, and always will be, my favourite. It really doesn’t get any better than this. I cooked one for my flat recently and they all loved it, even our International flatmate who’d never had the pleasure of a Sunday Roast before. As an added bonus, we were left with leftovers to make another tasty meal the day after. You can include this chicken as part of a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings (roast potatoes, yorkshire puddings, parsnips, etc) or base a lighter meal around it. When it’s hot, I still like to have my roast chicken with spiced couscous and roasted vegetables. The chicken is also really nice with bread and salad as part of a spread if you’re sharing with friends.
If you’re on a tight student budget, a frozen chicken is usually cheaper than a fresh one but will work just as well. Just make sure you leave the bird out of the freezer to defrost fully the night before you want to cook it. No one wants a bout of food poisoning, so poke the fattest part of the chicken with a fork to check that its juices are running clear before you take it out of the oven. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat and clean the work surfaces.
1.5kg Whole chicken
1 Large Red Onion
3 Garlic bublbs
Garlic olive oil (unflavoured olive oil is fine if you can’t find any of the garlicy goodness)
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the onion up into thick slices and lay them down in a large roasting pan.
2. Place the chicken on top of the onions. Open the legs of the chicken and stuff the garlic into its cavity (NB – Hands must be washed properly after handling raw poultry to avoid food poisoning). Then grate the zest of the lemon over the chicken, before cutting it in half and squeezing the juice all over the chicken. Place the juiced lemon also in the chicken’s cavity.
3. Sprinkle the chicken with the herbs, drizzle over the olive oil and add a little salt and pepper to season.
4. Place the chicken in the oven for 1hr 30 mins (or until the juices run clear).
5. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave it to rest for at least 15 mins. You can cover it with foil to keep it warm. (Resting the chicken keeps it nice and moist so don’t neglect this step!)
6. To make the most delicious gravy you have ever tasted, scoop everything from the roasting pan (including all the juices and the onions!) into a jug and blitz it all up with a hand blender, adding more water if the mixture’s too thick.
7. Enjoy this dish with whatever you fancy, such as my perfect roast potatoes and lovely veg. Or, for a lighter meal, serve with bread and salad. This bird is heavenly regardless.