A Roast dinner is a real family occasion and this Roast Chicken with roast potatoes, veggies and good gravy is perfect for feeding your nearest and dearest. I'll talk you through the timings for the entire thing, including how to make great gravy, so there's no need to stress. Everything will be ready when you need it to be.
Cooking Times for Chicken
Weigh your chicken and calculate the cooking time.
25 minutes per 500g or 20 minutes per lb. Plus an extra 10 -20 minutes. Always check your chicken is cooked thoroughly. The internal temperature should be 74°C if testing with a probe thermometer.
Resting time.30 minutes.
When buying chicken, try to buy British chicken, preferably free range and check the label. This means it has been bred, reared and slaughtered in the UK. British poultry is produced to some of the highest standards in the world and British hens are vaccinated against salmonella. British chickens also have a lower carbon footprint since they have travelled less. It also helps to support British farmers who look after our countryside. The most sustainable chicken you can buy is an organic free range one.
What is Organic chicken?
This seems a good place to talk about organic chicken. An organic chicken will cost you more than a factory farmed one, but what is the difference and is it worth it?
Firstly, the feed. Organic chickens are not fed on GM grain or feed (which is common in free-range and non-organic hens. They also get to run around outdoors which means they eat a variety of plants, grubs and insects which adds variety to their diet and helps keep them healthy. Secondly, they are reared for longer. In the UK organic chickens are reared for at least 70 days, which is a more natural pace. Factory farmed chickens are fed hormones to speed up growth so their lives are shorter. It's interesting to note that nutritionally, organic chickens are better for us. They contain less saturated fat but higher omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart.
Organic chickens are only given antibiotics if absolutely necessary, whereas factory farmed chickens are fed antibiotics regularly to stave off disease. Why is this s a big deal though? Well, Organic certifying body The Soil Association also reports that farm animals account for almost two-thirds of all antibiotics used in the EU. These anitibiotics are then passed down to us and ultimately become less effective as our own resistance increases.
Finally, the animal welfare standards for organic chickens are far higher than factory farmed. The flock sizes are smaller, 2,000 for organic birds in the UK versus 30,000 for factory farmed. A factory farmed chicken has more room in the oven than it did when it was alive. If you want more information on the difference between factory farmed and organic chicken, I found this article at Live Frankly very useful.
Leftover cooked chicken can be stored in the fridge for 2 days and remember to store cooked chicken away from raw meat. Don't let cooked chicken sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours. You can eat the chicken cold, but when re-heating, make sure it is piping hot and only re-heat it once. Cooked chicken can also be frozen for up to 4 months. Wrap it up well to avoid freezer burn.
You will ususally have some leftovers from a roast. There are many great meals you can throw together using leftover chicken from a roast. A favourite in our house, is a chicken curry. Or how about a chicken and broccoli pasta bake? Not forgetting the veg, fry it all up together for a Bubble & Squeak or make a soup. Don't worry about a recipe. My Anything Goes Vegetable Soup will give you all the tips you need.
Roast Chicken, roast potatoes, veggies and gravy
- 2 onions organic, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots organic, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic organic
- 4 tbsp olive oil organic, fairtrade
- 2 kg whole chicken organic or free range
- 1 lemons organic, fairtrade
- 2 sprigs thyme organic
- 900 g potatoes desiree, King Edward, Maris piper, organic
- 500 g spring green cabbage organic, cut into 1cm ribbons
- 350 g carrots organic, peeled and diced
- 1000 ml chicken stock organic
- 7 g plain flour organic 1 tbsp = 7g
- 175 ml white wine organic, fairtrade or low alcohol cooking wine
- Pre-heat oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Weigh your chicken and check the total cooking time. See note above. Place the onions, carrots and garlic cloves in the roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil.
- Cut the lemon in half and put it inside the chicken cavity together with the thyme. Lay the chicken on top of the vegetables, place in the oven and set a timer to the required cooking time.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Peel the potatoes and cut into pieces about the size of an egg. Place in the pan and cook for 8 - 10 minutes then drain through a colander and give a good shake to roughen up the edges.
50 minutes before eating
- Turn the oven temperature up to 220°C/430°F/gas mark 7. Remove the chicken from the oven and drain off the fat into a separate roasting tin. Toss the potatoes in the fat, making sure they are well covered. Put the chicken back in the oven and place the potatoes near the top.
30 minutes before eating
- Remove the chicken from the oven and check it is properly cooked. If you're using a thermometer, the internal temperature should be 74°C. Cover with foil and leave to rest.
15 minutes before eating
- Put the cabbage or other green veg on to steam for about 5 - 6 minutes then remove to a warm dish. You may need to do this in batches.
- To make the gravy, remove the chicken to a carving dish. Put the tray on the hob over a high heat and when the juices begin to bubble, add the flour and whisk in. Hold the tray carefully and mash the vegetables with a potato masher. Add the wine and let it bubble for a few minutes. Slowly add the stock, stirring it all together. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes until you have your desired thickness. Strain the gravy through a sieve and pour into a warm jug.
Ready to eat
- Carve the meat. Remove the potatoes from the oven and serve together with the meat, vegetables, cheese sauce and gravy.