“Classics can be phenomenal when done right. A simple roast chicken dish could be the best thing you ever eat.” – Joe Bastianich
Fair warning this is going to be a long post. But the good news is that really it’s 4 recipes in 1. So not only are you getting a lot of bang for your buck (bang for your pound just doesn’t have the same ring to it..) you can also scroll down and find exactly the recipe you want to make.
Evan, my partner in crime, loves chicken roast. Loves it so much in fact that when I recently took a trip to Romania, he cooked himself 4 roast dinners…I was gone for 7 days. Since he loves it so much, it’s something that I cook often and I’m happy to say that I’ve perfected my recipe.
There’s something so romantic, so comforting and so damn delicious about a roast chicken dinner. What’s also great is that there isn’t all that much cooking either, there’s some prep and a lot of waiting but really the oven does most of the work for you.
So grab a tea, coffee, glass of wine and make these dishes. Your friends and family will love you all the more for it.
Step 1: The Chicken
Grab yourself a medium (1.5 kg) chicken (obviously you can cook a larger bird, the cooking time will just be longer). Dry it with some paper towels and let it sit out of the fridge until you prep the rest of your ingredients.
Next, gather your aromatics, this can really be whatever you have on hand however, just remember that they are the flavour base of your gravy. I usually add a couple of carrots, some celery sticks, an onion and garlic. If you have parsnips, throw some of that in there too. Don’t bother peeling the veg either, just give them a good wash. Cut them into large chunks and place them into a roasting tin.
Now, turn your attention to the chicken. Place it on top of the aromatics. Cut a lemon in half, and grab some rosemary and some thyme (if you can find lemon thyme definitely use it here, if you can’t regular thyme will be fine). Shove the thyme, rosemary and lemons in the cavity of the chicken. I know this isn’t particularly dignified for the chicken but it’s necessary for a delicious meal…so sorry for this little guy.
Rub some olive oil on the outside and season liberally with salt and pepper. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375°F (≈190°C) for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Look at that delicious bird!
When the chicken is cooked, take it out of the oven, remove it from the roasting tin, cover it with foil and let it rest until you cook the rest of the trimmings.
*Don’t forget to save those juices and the lemon from inside the carcass if you’re wanting to make my almost famous gravy!*
Resting the bird is just as important as resting beef. (My Quintessential Sunday Roast recipe talks about the importance of letting meat rest!)
If you just wanted a recipe for roasting a chicken then you’re done. Once rested, remove the meat from the carcass and enjoy in soups, enchiladas, salads, or sandwiches. If you’re going for the full deal then keep reading.
Step 2: Roast Potatoes
I have to admit that I feel a little bit (read – a lot!) upset that I didn’t know what roast potatoes were until I met Evan. Or rather, I didn’t know about traditional English roast potatoes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had potatoes a million different ways and they may be my favorite food. If someone forced me to only eat one thing for the rest of my life, they would definitely be it. You can do so much with them…mash ’em, boil ’em, smash ’em, fry ’em…the world’s your oyster (did you know that Shakespeare coined that term, it first appeared in The Merry Wives of Windsor… and you thought you’d just be learning about food!)
Anyways, back to the tots. Roasted potatoes are actually magical, if done right. They’re crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. They’re like tasty, golden balls (ahem…stop thinking what you’re thinking!)
My recipe is basically the same as Jamie Oliver’s (here’s a link to his roast potatoes with different flavour combinations.)
You’ll need potatoes, (thanks Captain Obvious) some sort of fat and seasoning.
For this post I’ve chosen, the traditional goose fat option. Now, this is normally reserved for special occasions such as Christmas or meeting the in-laws, or in this case a blog post.
You can easily make these with olive oil or a combination of butter and oil.
You’re going to want to peel the potatoes and rinse them well under cold, running water to get rid of the starch. Then cut them into large equal size pieces. Normally, I cut them in half if they are medium sized and the halves in half if they are large (that’s a mouthful). Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water. Add a great big ol’ pinch of salt and parboil for 10 minutes. Then drain and let steam in the colander for 5 minutes. Now give the colander a good shake and rough up those potatoes. Add to your roasting tin then add your fat. I used 3 Tbsp of goose fat. Add lots of salt and lots of pepper and pop the into a 375°F oven.
Roast them for 30 minutes, give them a flip and roast for another 30 minutes. Give them one more flip and pop them in for a further 10-15 minutes.
When they’re done they look like this…
AMAZING RIGHT?! If you’ve decided to just make a roast chicken and potatoes then stop reading now and go eat! If you’re wanting the know how to make cauliflower and broccoli cheese then keep reading.
Step 3: Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese
I love, love, love cauliflower and broccoli cheese. It’s creamy, cheesy and gooey and “go-back-for-thirds” good. It’s relatively easy to make – a few simple ingredients, a cheesy bechamel sauce and extra cheese before it gets popped into the oven. You can make it ahead of time and pop it into the oven at the same time as your roast potatoes.
Cut your broccoli and cauliflower into florets. Measure out equal amounts of flour and butter. Shred some cheese (please shred your own, the pre-grated stuff has additives to keep it from clumping which means that it won’t melt as well. But also why add extra additives (including potato starch and calcium sulfate) if you don’t have to. It also really doesn’t take THAT much more time to do. If all you have is the shredded kind, then use it.
Start off by making your roux: in a deep sided pan, add the butter until it melts, then add the flour, stirring with a whisk for a couple of minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously to avoid lumps (it helps if you warm up the milk, but it’s not a requirement, and something I never usually do). Once all the milk is added at the cheese, reserving some for later. Add the dijon and minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
Keep your cheese sauce on a low heat. I blanch my cauliflower for a few minutes, this isn’t a necessary step, I just don’t like crunchy cauliflower in my cauliflower cheese.
Once blanched, place into a baking dish with the broccoli. Add the cheese sauce and top with reserved shredded cheese. Bake for an hour, until gooey and delicious.
Great cooking so far guys! You can stop reading here, but really all that’s left is making my gravy. We all know how I feel about gravy so I really hope you try this recipe out.
Step 4: Almost Famous Gravy
While this gravy is super easy to make, it’s got a depth of flavour and savoriness that makes it so tasty.
Start by making a roux, like the one we made for the cauliflower/broccoli cheese but the difference with this one is that we’re going to cook it until it’s a nutty brown colour and the flour smells toasted.
This is the most important step. I repeat, the most important step!
When your roux is a nice dark golden brown, add the juices from the chicken. Whisk vigorously to ensure you don’t get any lumps.
Simmer the gravy on a medium heat until it’s as thick as you want. (If it’s too thick, add a splash of milk or chicken broth to loosen it)
Taste the gravy. Remember the lemon we saved from the chicken. Add a couple of drops, to taste, to your gravy. That’s the secret ingredient. That’s what will make your gravy extra special.
That’s it now! You’re done! Now wipe the sweat off your brow…plate up and enjoy this classic beauty!
Classic Roast Chicken
- 1 medium chicken (1.5 kg)
- 3 carrots, cut in large chunks
- 1 onion, halved
- 2 ribs of celery, cut in large chunks
- 6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and squashed
- a few sprigs of thyme
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 lemon halved
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 400 ml stock
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F (≈190°C). Add the veggies to a roasting tin with the garlic. Place the chicken on top.
Fill the cavity with the thyme, rosemary and lemon. Rub the olive oil on the outside and generously season with salt and pepper. Pour in the stock and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
When the chicken is cooked, remove from the tray and cover with tinfoil. Let it rest. Reserve the juices, the lemon from the cavity and the carrots.
Perfect Roast Potatoes
- 6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
- 3 Tbsp goose fat OR olive oil OR a combination of olive oil and butter
Preheat oven to 375°F (≈190°C).
Wash the potatoes under cold running water to remove the extra starch. Add them to a pot. Cover with cold water and add a generous amount of salt. Parboil for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, drain the potatoes and allow to steam for 5 minutes. Shake them in the colander to roughen them up. Add them to a roasting tray with your chosen fat and salt and pepper.
Roast for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove from oven and flip them over. Roast for another 30 minutes. Flip them one more time and cook for another 10-15 minutes until crispy, browned and delicious!
Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 600 ml milk
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 medium head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1½ cups shredded cheese, divided
Preheat the oven to 425°F (≈220°C).
In a high sided pan, melt the butter. Once melted add the flour and whisk, cooking for a couple of minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously to avoid getting lumps. Once smooth, add the garlic and dijon mustard and 1 cup of cheese. Simmer until the cheese is melted and you have a nice smooth sauce. Turn the heat to low and keep warm.
Blanch the cauliflower for a couple of minutes in a pot with salted water. Add to a roasting tray. Add the broccoli. Cover with the cheese sauce and top with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour until bubbly and cheese and delicious.
Almost Famous Gravy
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 500 ml juices from the roasted chicken
- lemon from the roasted chicken
- splash of milk if necessary
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and whisk, stirring continuously until the mixture turns a deep golden brown colour. Once the roux has browned, slowly pour in the chicken juices, whisking to avoid getting lumps.
Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. If gravy gets too thick, add a splash of milk. Season with salt and pepper and a couple of drops of the roasted lemon juice.
Pour over everything and devour.