Sunday dinner has always been so important to me. It symbolises family and slower days where taking your time over everything is OK. Taking the day easier is good for our health. This isn’t passively watching TV when you’re exhausted but deciding to take things slower in the day and making space to cuddle, listen, sit, watch and breathe. Don’t rush to the end goal, enjoy the journey.
Making Sunday dinner makes me slow down because it takes a little while for the house to fill with the aroma of Sunday dinner anticipation. I have lots of roast chicken recipes but this is my most basic one that requires the fewest ingredients and the least cooking experience. I know some people feel overwhelmed by the idea of Sunday dinner but you can use tinned and frozen vegetables to save money and time. If you’ve been nervous about roasting a whole chicken I’m going to walk you through it step by step and show you just how far this meat can go. Roasting the chicken is the start of 12 meals over 3 days: Chicken and Peppers with Rice and Chicken Stock Soup with Pasta
Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids
1.5kg chicken (the best quality you can afford)
1 tbsp olive oil
5 medium sized carrots
2 tins of 560g potatoes
1-2 tbsps plain flour
- Take the chicken out of the fridge and turn your oven onto 220°c (200°c Fan). Remove and discard/recycle the packaging then place the chicken in a roasting pan.
- Cut through the string holding the legs together and press on top of the chicken to flatten it a little. Discard the string.
- Dry the top of the chicken and legs with a piece of kitchen roll (this makes the oil stick better which makes your chicken brown more)
- Pour over 1 tbsp of olive oil.
- Rub the oil all over the chicken.
- Grind salt all over the top of the chicken.
- Once your oven is up to temperature put the chicken in the oven so that the top of the chicken is close to the top of your oven. I put my chicken in with the legs towards the back because this is where the oven is hottest and the legs require more cooking than the breasts. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking peel the carrots and cut in half then cut each half lengthways in half. Open the tins of potatoes and drain the liquid.
- After 30 minutes take the chicken out of the oven and turn the temperature down to 195°c (175°c Fan). The chicken will have taken on some colour and there will be fat in the bottom of the pan.
- Carefully tip the pan and spoon the fat out and into a heatproof bowl. You don’t have to get every last bit of fat.
- Pour 500ml of water into the pan.
- Put the carrots into the pan around the chicken then grind a little salt over the carrots.
- Pour 1tbsp of the chicken fat on top of the chicken and use a spoon or brush to spread it over the skin. This will make the skin crispier. Put the tray back into the oven and set the timer for 45 minutes.
- Tip the potatoes onto a baking tray then use a clean tea towel to dry them off. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the chicken fat over the top then roll the potatoes around to coat them in the oil. The potatoes usually come in salted water so they don’t need any more salt. When there is 15 minutes left on the timer but the potatoes into the oven next to the chicken if your oven is big enough or on the next shelf down if not.
- Once the 45 minute timer is done take the chicken out of the oven. Give the potatoes a little shake so they colour on both sides and return to the oven for another 15 minutes (if your potatoes were on a lower shelf, move them up to the top shelf and closer the oven door).
- Carefully lift the chicken onto a large plate to rest for 15 minutes.
- Lift the carrots out into a serving dish, cover with foil and leave them in a warm place near the oven. Pour the liquid in the roasting pan into a Pyrex jug and let it settle for a minute.
- As the liquid settles the fat will rise to the top. We’re going to use this fat to make the gravy.
- Use a spoon to carefully skim 2 tablespoons of fat from the top of the liquid (don’t worry if you get some stock in the spoon as well). Put the fat into a frying pan or skillet on a medium high heat. Once the pan is hot add 2 tablespoons of flour and use a whisk to incorporate the fat and flour. It will make a paste.
- Keep whisking while you gradually pour the stock in. The paste will suddenly thicken a lot so you keep adding the stock and whisking until you’ve added all the liquid and the paste becomes gravy.
- *CHEAT OPTION If you don’t feel confident to make the gravy just skim away as much of the fat from the top of the liquid as you can then put the stock into a saucepan on a medium heat and add instant gravy granules to thicken.
- By now the chicken should be rested and the potatoes are cooked. Put the peas into a microwave safe bowl pour over a little water (there’s lots of water in the ice around the frozen peas) and sprinkle over a little salt. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes depending on the power of your microwave.
- Carve the chicken and serve up the veg then pour over the gravy and enjoy. You’ve made a simple and delicious Sunday lunch! DON’T THROW ANYTHING AWAY BECAUSE WE’RE GOING TO USE THE LEFTOVER MEAT AND THE CHICKEN CARCASS TO MAKE MORE MEALS.