Really useful roast chicken

This succulent all-purpose roast can be enjoyed with trimmings on Sunday or used as the basis for other satisfying meals

  • Prep:5 mins
    Cook:1 hrs 10 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 434
  • fat 25g
  • saturates 8g
  • carbs 1g
  • sugars 1g
  • fibre 0g
  • protein 51g
  • salt 0.39g


  • medium whole chicken (about 1.6kg)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • few thyme or rosemary sprigs, or even a couple of bay leaves


Chicken, dill & pea pilaf
Fry 1 sliced onion and 1 crushed garlic clove in 50g butter for 10 mins. Rinse 300g basmati rice, stir into the pan, add 1 litre chicken stock, then boil. Stir once, season, cover, then cook for 15 mins. Add 200g frozen peas and the meat from 2 cooked chicken legs and thighs. Stir, then leave for 10 mins. Fork through juice 1 lemon and a handful chopped dill and toasted flaked almonds.Club sandwich salad
Grill 2 rashers bacon until crisp, then chop. Mix 1 tbsp mayo with 50ml soured cream and 1½ tsp wine vinegar. Season. Slice 1 ripe avocado. Toss with the bacon, 1 torn Romaine heart and the shredded meat from 2 cooked chicken breasts. Drizzle with dressing. Serve with 4 toasted ciabatta slices, drizzled with a little oil and rubbed with a cut garlic clove


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Untie the legs and sit the chicken in a roasting tin, preferably non-stick. Push the lemon, half the onion and a few herb sprigs into the cavity. Re-tie the legs with string if you like. Turn the chicken over so the breast side is facing down, season generously, then drizzle with half the oil. Roast for 30 mins.

  2. Carefully turn the chicken over, add the remaining onion and a few more herb sprigs to the tin, then toss them with any juices. Season the breast side, then drizzle with remaining oil. Roast for 40 mins until deep golden and smelling irresistible. Test chicken is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh; the juices should run clear. If they don’t, give it 10 more mins, then check again. Cool for 30 mins, then use your hands to pull the meat from the bones in big pieces (this is far easier than when the chicken is cold, plus you can get it in the fridge more quickly to completely cool down). Chill for up to 3 days, or use the warm meat for one of my recipes (see below).

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