Roast Chicken with Stuffing
Roast chicken is one of our mainstays during the winter and spring months. We always buy a large free-range chicken, which although much dearer, often provides enough for another dish, like chicken and mushroom pie. The carcass isn’t wasted either as this is boiled for stock or soup. We don’t eat our own chickens because we’ve named them and they are such characters that it just wouldn’t feel right. Our birds are completely free-range and have the full run of the garden. Yes, they eat the odd berry or vegetable and irritatingly dig up newly laid mulch, but they do no harm really. We don’t clip their wings, but they seem to know exactly where the boundaries are and keep within the acre. They even put themselves to bed in the evening. I don’t think anyone who has seen a chicken’s natural behaviour could countenance non-free range. If you need convincing visit Hugh’s Chicken Out Campaign.
Rinse the chicken and ensure giblets are removed. Put the chicken into a large roasting tin. Loosen the skin from the body with a rounded knife and push in butter. This will baste the chicken beautifully whilst it is cooking. Pour a little oil over the skin and season with salt to crisp the skin. Add peeled onions cut in half and whole garlic cloves to the roasting pan and pour in water or apple juice. Cook the chicken for about 1.5 hours at 200 C. If the chicken is browning too quickly cover with greaseproof paper and reduce the temperature to 180 C. Remove from oven and transfer to carving board. Leave to rest for 10 minutes whilst you make the gravy.
Perfect roast potatoes
Once the chicken is in the oven, peel the potatoes, allowing 2 or 3 per person. Put in a saucepan and bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for about 15 to 20 mins until the potatoes are cooked and getting soft on the outside. Meanwhile heat the oil in a roasting tin, for a few mins. Drain the potatoes and add to the hot oil. Gently fork the surface of the potatoes and coat in the oil and season with salt. (Forking the potatoes makes them really crispy.)Put in the oven, occasionally basting and turning the potatoes.
Ingredients for stuffing
- 1 chopped onion
- Knob of butter (50g)
- 6 slices of bread crumbed
- Herbs from the garden e.g. sage, thyme, chives
- Salt and pepper to season
- Beaten egg if required
How to make the stuffing balls
Gently fry the onion in the butter. Put the breadcrumbs and chopped herbs in a bowl. Pour the onions and butter over the breadcrumbs and herbs. Squeeze together and form into balls. If too dry add more melted butter or a beaten egg. Cook on bottom shelf of oven for the last 20 mins that the chicken is cooking. Once the chicken is removed from the oven, move to the top shelf to brown further, if required.
How to make the gravy
Once the chicken is cooked and removed from the roasting tin. Deglaze the roasting tin with ½ glass of apple juice, dash of balsamic vinegar and a slug of soy sauce, if available. Mash the onions that have roasted in the tin into the gravy and squeeze the puree out of the roasted garlic cloves. Stir in a couple of glasses of water. Bring to the boil. If needed mix a tablespoon of cornflower with a knob of butter and add to the gravy to thicken.
Enjoy with seasonal vegetables from the garden.