A chicken magically appeared in our fridge on Saturday which gave me the opportunity to try what Nick Nairn calls his perfect roast chicken dinner. A bold claim. Normally if I’m doing a roast I stick to pork and beef so it was good to try a decent sized bird for a change and see if I could avoid the common pitfalls of dried out meat and lack of flavour.
In his New Scottish Cookery book Nick Nairn advocates stuffing the cavity of the chicken with some lemon wedges and garlic cloves. I decided a bay leaf and some rosemary could also get shoved up it’s rear end, can only help things along really.
The chicken came out a lovely brown, with crunchy skin and moist meat. You could really taste the flavours stuffed into the bird, especially the meat down in the thigh and other bits close to the cavity. I served this with some proper gravy, rosemary roast potatoes, roast carrots and parsnips. Yum! One medium chicken stuffed both of us and kept us in sandwiches for days!
3 garlic cloves
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 240 degrees C.
Chop the lemon into small wedges, bash the garlic (you don’t even need to peel it) and stuff them into the chicken’s cavity with the rosemary and bay leaf.
In a roasting pan, pour some olive oil over the bird and rub it all over.
Season with plenty of salt and pepper, the salt will make for a really crispy skin.
Place in the hot oven for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, baste with the juices from the bottom of the pan and then put it back in.
Turn the oven down to 200 degrees C and roast for 40 minutes or until the chicken is brown and the juices run clear.
Remove the chicken from the pan and leave on a warm plate, covered in foil to rest while you get on with the gravy.
Spoon out most of the fat from the roasting tray and place it on a high heat on the hob.
Deglaze with chicken stock and scrape all the bits off the bottom.
Add some thyme and a little seasoning then reduce the gravy until it’s your desired thickness.
Stir in some of the resting juices and strain the gravy into a jug.