Cooking like a grandma: Roast Chicken

If you know me or have been following along on Insta or Facebook for a while,  you will probably have noticed I am OBSESSED with roast chicken. OBSESSED! In fact, in true Grandma-style I cook one every week. Not only does it make for one delicious dinner, but it sets me up with leftovers and sandwich fillers for the next few days. I’ve even been know to roast a chicken JUST for sandwiches. Screw eating it for dinner :-p

When I was growing up, my Nanna was of the mind that Sunday was roast day. 52 weeks of the year you would find a roast on the table for Sunday night’s tea. Steamed up windows, gravy bubbling away, family fights (stopping just short of fisticuffs) for who got particular cuts. Worst was roast lamb…we had to develop a rota to keep track of whose turn it was for the bone. Pack of savages, right!

Nowadays we rarely eat a leg of lamb due to both the expense and our decision to limit red meat consumption for environmental reasons. In our house, chicken reigns supreme!

So here is one of my (many) recipes for a roast chicken dinner. Enjoy x

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Take one organic, free range chicken.  Liberally coat the chicken in olive oil and massage that bird like no-one is watching. Really romance her 😉

Squeeze the juice of a lemon all over then pop the lemon halves inside. This will hold the chicken open to ensure it cooks evenly inside. Salt, pepper, as much crushed garlic as you desire, all over the chicken and massage again. This isn’t just for kicks. Aside from ensuring your flavours are all over the chicken, massaging also helps tenderise the meat.

Now we put the chicken into a roasting pan. You can lay the chicken on a rack in the pan to make sure it cooks all over. In the pic above, I had loads of teeny weeny potatoes from the garden which I coated in olive oil and placed under the chicken to hold it up.

Into the oven at 180°C. On average it will take 30mins per 500g of chicken, so usually you are looking at 1-1.5hrs for your roast to be ready.

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Next up choose a selection of root veg. Whatever you have in the fridge or the garden is fine. Peel and chop roughly,  coat in olive oil. Sprinkle on some good quality salt such as Maldon flakes. Add in any other herbs you like. I often pinch a few sprigs of rosemary from the pot outside my front door. Lay your veg on a roasting pan and put in the oven on the shelf below the chicken.

Once your chicken is ready, take it out and let it rest for 10mins or so before you carve. This makes sure the juices settle into the meat so it doesn’t end up tough and dry. While you’re waiting, make the gravy!

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Homemade gravy is honestly just as easy, and ten times tastier than instant. Once you’ve made it you will never buy Gravox again. Do NOT waste all that juice and oil in the bottom of the chicken pan. PLEASE!

First make a roux using some plain flour and a tablespoon of your pan juices. This is not as fancy as it sounds. In a hot fry pan, put in a tablespoon or so of pan juice and a tablespoon of flour. Mix it round and round and it will make a smooth ball. And in more juice and keep stirring. Now just keep going until all of the juice is incorporated.

You can now add butter or milk for a richer, creamier gravy. You can add any herbs and spices you like. To thicken just keep simmering, stirring all the while so it doesn’t burn. You can add some more flour to thicken if you like. Don’t worry too much if you get lumps, just strain when you’re ready to serve.

Voila!  Leftovers for days 😉

How do you like to use your leftover roast chicken?

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