I’ve finally done it! I’ve finally started cooking whole joints of meat and, let me tell you, I don’t think there’s any going back. Nothing can beat the smell of a chicken roasting away, and the amount of meals the pennies buy is actually far, far better than I could have imagined.
We’ve been buying a 1.2kg chicken from Waitrose for just over £3.50 (thanks to the Pick Your Own offers), and this will generally do the two of us for three meals plus a couple of lunches. Considering you struggle to buy four good sized chicken breasts for that, it’s extraordinary value for money.
My standard roast chicken recipe is simple, it takes inspiration from a couple of Jamie Oliver recipes (if you own one cookbook, make it one of his!), my dad’s roast chicken recipe and the fact that I can use lemons away from my parental home. It makes tender meat, crispy skin and a really good homemade gravy. What more could you ask for?!
- 1 small chicken
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch rosemary or thyme
- 2 celery sticks, 1 onion, 1 carrot
- Chicken stock (1 litre, from a cube)
Spread a little oil in the bottom of a roasting tin. Roughly peel/chop the veg and space in the tin, seasoning with a little salt and sprinkling over some of the herbs. Place the chicken on top.
Heat the lemon until hot, either in the microwave or (my preferred method) by boiling with your potatoes. Pierce a couple of times and place inside the chicken.
Drizzle the chicken with a little more oil and spread to cover the whole bird. Season well with salt and pepper, sprinkle over more herbs and cook at 200C for around 70 minutes.
Take out the oven and place on a warm plate. Cover well with foil and leave to rest whilst you make the gravy.
Place the roast tin on the hob over a medium heat, and spoon out any really fatty bits (with chicken I find this is only necessary if the bird isn’t great quality). Add a good tablespoon of flour and stir to make a roux. I find mashing the carrots and celery in creates amazing flavour with a little sweetness. Gradually add the chicken stock, stirring constantly. Bring to the boil and simmer until you have the thickness you want, then strain into a jug.
Serve your chicken and gravy with roast potatoes and lots of green vegetables. Pick your leftovers off the carcass and chill the bones/meat separately for use in leftover recipes…
A few weeks ago, on that gloriously hot weekend (where it rained all Sunday!), we decided on a summery twist on the usual recipe. The basics was the same, but instead of seasoning with oil and herbs we rubbed the chicken with a couple of spoons of harissa.
Served with roasted onions and peppers, lemony potatoes and a minted yoghurt dip, it was light, spicy and flavourful. A lovely change!
Whilst we did make this with the leftovers from the Harissa Chicken, it would work equally well with plain chicken. Simply soften an onion in a little oil, add a spoon of flour and a little chicken stock and reduce. Add some shredded leftover chicken and a little harissa (chipotle paste, curry paste or even powdered spices would also work well), and cook until you have a pasty-filling consistency.
Roll out some shortcrust pastry (I have a recipe here) into two rectangles. Pile on the filling, fold and crimp around the edges. Bake for around 25 minutes until golden and piping hot.
Leftovers: Quick Noodle Soup
Make up some chicken stock in a pan, keep simmering over a low heat. Add soy, fish and sweet chilli sauce to taste. Drop in some shredded chicken and simmer for five or so minutes. Add in a nest of noodles and some peas/soya beans, remove from the heat and cover. With two minutes of soaking time to go (check your noodle packet) add some shredded carrot. Tip into a bowl and top with slice spring onion and some seasame seeds.
A less creamy version of a classic Caesar, this is sharp with mustard and lemon. Tear some bread into croutons, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and bake at 180C for about 15 minutes or until golden. Meanwhile mix up a dress of mustard, lemon and olive oil to taste (I do a squeeze of lemon, half a teaspoon of mustard and a tablespoon of oil). Add the shredded chicken to a pan, turn on the heat and add the dressing.
Pile some leaves on a plate and grate over some parmesan. Scatter over the croutons and chicken, toss together and tuck in.
Leftover roast chicken is so versatile – it makes the best stir fries, stews and curries. My favourite leftover chicken recipe is so good it deserves it’s own post, so I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait for that!
Are you a fan of cooking big roasts then using the leftovers? What’s your favourite chicken recipe?