Where do celebrity chefs get their love of food from? Their mums of course. TV chef Rachel Allen shares a family favourite, with her mum’s roast chicken recipe
- 1 large chicken, 1.5-2.25kg (3lb 5oz-5lb)
- A small knob of butter
- Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 350ml (12fl oz) chicken stock for the gravy
- 25g (1oz) butter
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1tsp chopped fresh sage
- Finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 100g (4oz) soft breadcrumbs
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4
First, make the stuffing. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Cover and cook over a low heat for 8-10 mins until the onion is soft. Take off the heat then stir in the chopped herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice and breadcrumbs. Season to taste.
Spoon the stuffing into the chicken carcass and put the chicken in a roasting tray. Smear the know of soft butter over the skin and sprinkle with some sea salt and pepper. Roast for 1hr 30 mins to 1hr 45mins until cooked. The legs should feel quite loose in the bird and when a skewer is stuck into the thigh with a spoon placed underneath to catch the juices, they should run clear. If it begins to look quite dark while cooking, cover with some foil. When cooked transfer the chicken to a serving plate and leave to rest, in a warm oven if possible, while you make the gravy.
Put the roasting tray directly on the hob on a medium heat, add half the stock and bring back to the boil and pour into a small bowl or heat-proof jug. De-grease the juices by adding a couple of ice cubes which will draw the fat to the top so you can spoon it off and throw it away.
Pour the de-greased juices into a small pan, add the rest of the stock, bring to the boil and season to taste. If it’s too watery, boil for another couple of mins.
Take the chicken out of the oven and carve when ready to serve.
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To make breadcrumbs, put slices of white bread (with or without the crusts) in a food processor and whiz until you have crumbs. My mum makes delicious stuffing and she usually chops her onions and parsley, separately, in the food processor too.