Everyone loves a roast chicken dinner and now with Rosemary Shrager’s step-by-step recipe, it’s easier than ever – follow this how to guide to make the perfect roast chicken dinner you and the kids will love.
- 1 free-range or organic chicken, weighing about 1.75kg
- 6 sprigs of thyme
- 1 lemon, sliced into 8
- 60g softened unsalted butter
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 leek, roughly chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper
- For the gravy:
- 1 tsp plain flour
- 200ml white wine
- 350ml chicken stock
Take the chicken out of the fridge a good hour before cooking. Remove any string from the bird and take the bag of giblets, if there is one, out of the cavity.
Season inside the cavity with salt and pepper and then put the thyme sprigs and half the lemon slices inside the cavity.
Smear the butter all over the bird and season with salt and pepper.
Put the vegetables and the remaining lemon slices into a heavy-based roasting tin in which the chicken will just fit. Season with salt and pepper and put the chicken on top breast-side down, so the juices will fall through the vegetables as it cooks.
Place the chicken in an oven preheated to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and roast for 30 minutes.
Turn the chicken over and sprinkle some sea salt over it. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/Gas Mark 4, and return the tin to the oven. Roast for a further 45 minutes, basting the bird once or twice with the fat in the roasting tin.
To test the chicken for doneness, take hold of a leg and it should wobble. You can also insert a knife in the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone if the juices run clear the chicken is done.
Put the chicken on to a warmed platter and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes while you make the gravy.
Discard the vegetables from the tin and pour off most of the fat, leaving the chicken residue behind. Put the roasting tin on the hob over a low heat, sprinkle in the flour and mix well. Pour in the white wine.
Bring to a simmer, stirring and scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze it. When the wine has reduced in volume by about half, gradually stir in the chicken stock and bring back to the boil.
Simmer until the gravy has reduced enough to give a good flavour, taste it to check. Season to taste and strain into a small jug. Serve straight away.
If you want to make your own chicken stock, we've got a great recipe here