Roast Chicken with Herby Stuffing
Roast chicken is the best of all Sunday dinners and brings back so many memories.
- 1.5–1.8kg chicken, trussed and giblets removed
- 1 onion, thickly sliced
- 1 parsley sprig
- 1 thyme sprig
- 20g butter
- ½ a lemon
- sea salt and black pepper
For the stuffing
- 15g butter
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 100g breadcrumbs
- zest of 1 lemon
- small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- leaves from 2 tarragon sprigs, finely chopped
- 1 egg
For the gravy
- 1 tbsp flour
- 100ml white wine
- 300ml chicken stock
If possible, start preparing the chicken the day before you intend cooking it. Remove the chicken from its packaging. Sprinkle the cavity with flaky sea salt, then place the chicken on a plate. Sprinkle the skin of the chicken with more salt, then cover loosely with kitchen paper and leave it in the fridge. Remove the chicken from the fridge an hour before you want to cook it, so it can come up to room temperature.
To make the stuffing, heat the butter in a frying pan. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Tip everything into a bowl and leave to cool. Add the remaining stuffing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly, then spoon the stuffing into the cavity of the chicken. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7.
Weigh the chicken at this point – the cooking time is dependent on the weight once the stuffing is added. The roasting time is 20 minutes for every 500g, plus 15 minutes at a high temperature right at the beginning.
Put the onion and herbs in the centre of a roasting tin and place the chicken on top. Rub the butter over the skin, squeeze over the lemon juice, then put the lemon half in the cavity. Pour 200ml of water around the chicken. Roast at the high temperature for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4 and continue to cook for the time you have worked out. If you can check with a meat thermometer, the stuffing and the thickest part of the chicken should be 75°C. Or if you pierce the thickest part of a thigh with a skewer, the juices should run clear.
Transfer the chicken and onion to a warm serving platter and loosely cover with foil to rest. Pour off the roasting tin juices into a jug and leave to separate. Strain off any fat. To make the gravy, sprinkle the flour into the roasting tin and place it over a low heat. Stir the flour into the scrapings at the bottom of the tin to form a paste, then pour in the white wine. Allow this to bubble up, then stir until the mixture thickens. Slowly add in the stock and the reserved juices. Strain the liquid into a saucepan and add in any juices from the resting chicken. Bring to the boil then simmer for several minutes.
Serve the chicken with the gravy and the stuffing spooned out. Roast potatoes (see page 269 in British Classics) are a must.