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Classic roast chicken & gravy

What more can we say? The classic roast chicken is something everyone should know and can always save the day

  • Prep: 10 mins
    Cook: 1 hrs 30 mins
    Plus resting
  • Serves 4
  • Easy
  • Serves 4
  • Easy
  • Calories 567
  • Carbohydrates 4
  • Saturated Fat 13
  • Sugar 1
  • Protein 49
  • Fat 40
  • Fibre 0
  • Salt 0.84

Nutrition per serving

  • Calories 567
  • Carbohydrates 4
  • Saturated Fat 13
  • Sugar 1
  • Protein 49
  • Fat 40
  • Fibre 0
  • Salt 0.84

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 free range chicken, about 1½ kg/3lb 5oz
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • small bunch thyme (optional)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml chicken stock (a cube is fine)

Tip

Other rules
Always leave your chicken to rest for at least 15 mins before carving. This will give you a juicy chicken that is a lot easier to carve. For a more succulent chicken, take it out of the fridge one hour before cooking to bring it up to room temperature. This rule applies to any meat you are roasting. Don’t worry about turning or basting your chicken as it roasts. Yes, these can give good results, but are fiddly for the beginner, plus every time you open the oven you lose heat.

The golden rule to roast chicken…
A 1.5kg chicken will be perfectly roasted after 1 hr 20 mins at 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. It doesn’t matter what you stuff into it, rub or sprinkle over it or put around it, this timing never changes. Remember this and you will always be able to roast a chicken.

Barney says...
Ever wondered how professional cooks turn out impressive dishes without even referring to a recipe? It’s simply down to basic rules, which have been followed so often that they become second nature, guaranteeing the dish will work every time. You can do the same thing at home – once you’ve learnt the must-dos, cooking becomes easier and you can relax and start to experiment more, knowing the end result will always be delicious. Simply follow the rules and you won’t go wrong.

Method

  1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Have a shelf ready in the middle of the oven without any shelves above it. Scatter the vegetables over the base of a roasting tin that fits the chicken, but doesn’t swamp it. Season the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, then stuff with the lemon halves and thyme, if using. Sit the chicken on the vegetables, smother the breast and legs all over with the butter, then season the outside with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and leave, undisturbed, for 1 hr 20 mins – this will give you a perfectly roasted chicken. To check, pierce the thigh with a skewer and the juices should run clear. Remove the tin from the oven and, using a pair of tongs, lift the chicken to a dish or board to rest for 15-20 mins. As you lift the dish, let any juices from the chicken pour out of the cavity into the roasting tin.

  2. While the chicken is resting, make the gravy. Place the roasting tin over a low flame, then stir in the flour and sizzle until you have a light brown, sandy paste. Gradually pour in the 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. Strain the gravy into a small saucepan, then simmer and season to taste. When you carve the bird, add any extra juices to the gravy.

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