Cooking for new cooks! Never be daunted by the Sunday roast. It is one of the simplest things to cook! You just bung it in the oven and leave it well alone for the cooking time!
- 1 Chicken (Free range!)
- 1 lemon
- small sprig of Thyme or rosemary (optional)
- 1 onion (+ 1 small onion if no lemons – see method)
- 25g butter (or veg oil if preferred)
- salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. remembering to adjust the shelves to the centre of the oven to allow for the height of the bird. You don’t want to be juggling hot shelving!
- Scatter 1 roughly chopped onion on the base of your roasting tin. (the onion is optional but do choose a tin that fits your bird with just a little room to spare.)
- Place 2 lemon halves and herbs if using. Now if you don’t have any lemon then here’s where that small onion comes in!
- Sit the chicken on the onion base (*if used), smother the breast and legs with 25g softened butter and season well.
- Place in the oven and leave, undisturbed, for required cooking time (remember the twenties!) To check, pierce the thigh with a skewer and the juices should run clear. If the legs or breast seem to be singeing before the cooking time is up (if you are cooking a larger bird) then cover with some cooking foil.
- Remove the tin from the oven (remember your oven gloves!) and, lift the chicken to let any juices from the chicken pour out of the cavity into the roasting tin. Remove from pan to a dish or board to rest for 15-20 mins. This is best done with tongs or two large carving forks.
- If you have veg roasting in a separate pan move them up to top shelf to brown them off.
- Now whether you can make gravy from the chicken juices will depend on whether your chosen pan will sit on the over top. If it doesn’t then reach for the instant gravy and no problems.
- If your pan is suitable for the stove top then, while the chicken is resting, make the gravy.
- Place the roasting tin over a low flame, then stir in 1 tbsp flour and sizzle until you have a light brown, sandy paste.
- Gradually pour in 250ml chicken stock, stirring all the time, until you have a thickened sauce.
- Simmer for 2 mins, using a wooden spoon to stir, scraping any sticky bits from the tin.
- Season to taste and then strain the gravy into a small jug and. When you carve the bird, add any extra juices to the gravy.