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Simple Traditional Roast Chicken

Meat Vegetables

In association with Saunderson's Quality Family Butcher & Fruit, Vegetables & Dairy Schop & Good Brothers Wine & Spirits

Probably the nations favourite roast and a Sunday staple of households nationwide, but sadly so often let down by the use of supermarket quality chicken as the main ingredient.

So rather than short change yourself, make sure that the centre-piece meal is a succulent and flavoursome family Butcher quality chicken.

For this recipe, if you have 4 to 6 people to feed we would recommend a whole barn chicken, but if you have a few more mouths we strongly recommend a whole free-range chicken. In both cases you're likely to have some chicken leftover so why not make a tasty soup or stirfry and get the maximum use, and value, from these delicious birds.

We've included a range of vegetables below so please feel free to choose whichever combinations suit your taste. Our favourite mix is roast potatoes, carrots and aubergine, with some steamed broccoli and red cabbage roasted with paprika.

This recipe is designed to be do-able with just one oven and hob and will take approximately 2 hours, including preparation time.

Also included are a range of wines, all of which will go deliciously with roast chicken. Totty prefers the citrussy and mineraly un-oaked Fram Chardonnay, whilst I prefer the smooth but light Les Mougettes Pinot Noir. However, if you're feeling a little more lavish, a dry Champagne-method sparkling wine such as the Cantina Ferrari Maximum Brut will certainly hit the spot!


  1. Prior to cooking the chicken, ensure that it is completed thawed (if you have previously frozen) and remove any giblets. Then stuff the chicken from the neck end before folding the neck skin over. Regular stuffing can be used, although we prefer to simply cut a peeled medium onion into quarters, cut half a lemon into four pieces and place them inside the chicken.

    Then place the bird in a shallow roasting tin, lightly cover it with a drizzle of rapeseed oil, sprinkle some salt & pepper on the skin and layer a few rashers of streaky bacon over the breasts to prevent them from drying out.

  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200C and place the bird in the centre for 20 minutes per 0.45kg, plus another 20 minutes. For a 1.5kg bird, this means a total cooking time of approximately 85 to 90 minutes. From time to time baste the chicken to ensure it doesn't dry out and that it retains its full flavour.

  3. Having washed and cut each potato into 8 pieces (we leave the skin on) we recommend parboiling the potatoes for 10 to 12 minutes. Having done that, place the potatoes in a roasting tin, drizzle with rapeseed oil, seasoning with salt and roast at 200C for 40 minutes to 1 hour. We recommend half to one medium potato per person.

  4. For other roasting vegetables (carrots, courgettes, aubergine, cauliflower) firstly wash (and for carrots peel) the vegetables, then cut them into lengths of approximately 5cm before halving or quartering them, place them in a roasting tray, drizzle with rapeseed oil, sprinkle with salt and roast at the bottom of a 200C oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Use approximately 2 carrots, half a courgette, a quarter of an aubergine and 2 cauliflower florets per person.

  5. If, like us, you wish to include red cabbage roasted with paprika (which we would recommend), tear off and wash 6 to 8 leaves of cabbage and cut the leaves into strips about two to three centimetres wide. Then place the strips on cabbage in a roasting tray, drizzle with rapeseed oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and powdered paprika before roasting for approximately 20 minutes at 200C.

  6. For the broccoli, cut off 4 to 8 florets of broccoli, wash and then steam for approximately 20 minutes

  7. Finally, to make a thin gravy from the chicken juices pour off all the fat except one tablespoonful from the chicken's roasting tin. Sprinkle in 4 level tablespoons of flour and stir in about 280ml of chicken or giblet stock. Then bring to the boil, add salt and pepper and continue to stir. For a richer flavour add finely chopped chicken liver and/or a dash of white wine.

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