Doing the perfect roast chicken is both a bit of an art and a bit of science! Making your own roast chicken is easy, and when you make it yourself you can rest assured there isn’t a stray Oxo cube in it (not gluten-free) or a bit of wheat flour in the gravy! However, making sublime roast chicken requires a bit of experimenting with the flavours that you add, but once you’ve mastered it you’ll never reach for the Bisto again!
- 1 chicken
- 4 carrots
- 1 apple, or 1 lemon, or both!
- 2 chicken stock cubes (I prefer Knorr)
- Ground arrowroot (cornflour will substitute)
- Salt, pepper to taste
- Chilli or garlic (optional)
- Fresh herbs (optional)
- 1 large roasting tin
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
2. Top and tail the carrots and cut them in half, lengthways. Arrange these in the bottom of your roasting tin. They will act as a trivet for the chicken.
3. Remove all packaging from the chicken, including the string. Cut apple or lemon in half and insert into chicken.
4. Optional step: make scores in the skin on the chicken’s breasts and insert any combination of the following under the skin: small knobs of butter, cloves of garlic, dried or fresh chillies, fresh thyme or oregano… whatever flavour you want your chicken to be! This is the bit where you can get creative.
5. Rub salt into the chicken’s skin.
6. Place chicken breast side down on top of the carrots.
7. Pour a little cold water into the pan, so that the level reaches about halfway up the carrots. Crumble a stock cube into the water. This will be the base for your gravy. Season the chicken with pepper, if desired.
8. Put the chicken in the oven for half of its total cooking time (refer to the packaging for bird weight and cooking times). After this time, turn the chicken over, season with pepper and return to oven for the rest of its cooking time.
9. Remove roasting tin from the oven and transfer the chicken to a board, draining any juices back into the roasting tin and cover chicken with foil. Remove carrots, place in a bowl and cover with foil.
10. Drain all juices and sediment into a saucepan. Add 200ml chicken stock and bring to the boil. In a small glass, mix 3tsp arrowroot (or cornflour) with a little cold water and stir until dissolved. Add this to the boiling gravy and boil until thickened. Season with pepper.
11. Serve with potatoes (Charlotte potatoes shown in the picture)