For a tasty, authentic roast dinner, this traditional dish is unbeatable. Simple and mouth-wateringly delicious, this truly is a meal the whole family can enjoy.
- 1 medium whole chicken
- 6 rashers of streaky bacon
- Salt and pepper, to season
- 40g butter
- For the stuffing:
- 10 sage leaves, chopped
- 125g breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 50g butter, softened
- salt and pepper
- bunch of sage, for garnish
- 4 large onions, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5.
Melt the butter and add the onions. Gently cook for about 10 mins until the onions are soft. Allow to cool and add the sage, breadcrumbs and season. Add just enough egg to moisten the mixture and leave until ready to use. Tip: Use a pack of stuffing if time is short.
Stuff the chicken from the neck end, and pack about two-thirds of the stuffing inside. Close the skin over the stuffing and secure it with a cocktail stick or small skewer.
Shape the remaining stuffing into balls and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven with the chicken for the final 25 mins.
Place the chicken in a roasting tin and spread with butter. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the bacon in a criss-cross pattern across the breast. Cover loosely with foil.
Roast in the centre of oven for 20 mins per 500g plus 10-20 mins extra, basting twice during cooking.
15 mins before end of cooking time, remove the foil, remove the bacon, baste and increase the heat to 220ºC/425°F/gas 7, to give the skin that final golden crispiness. When it is cooked, remove it from the oven and cover it with foil. Leave to rest for at least 10 mins before serving. The juices should run clear when the thigh is pierced. If not, cook further.
Garnish with a bunch of sage and serve with a selection of roasted vegetables.
Choose chicken with the Red Tractor and Union Jack on pack and you'll know it was produced to high standards and can be traced back to the independently-checked British farm it came from. Or ask your butcher if it's British. To reduce the fat content (especially saturated fat) of this traditional dish, leave out the butter under the skin of the chicken and drizzle the chicken with a little olive oil before cooking. Also soften the onions for the stuffing in 1tsp of olive oil.