Well it’s been a while…I’m thinking ahead to a simple Sunday lunch or easy get together meal with the family and this roast chicken with sticky carrots fits the bill. Roast chicken is always a safe bet (and economical) so it’s my go to family, weekend, roast. My Christmas turkey always sits on top of a ‘trivet’ of vegetables & herbs to help keep it moist by raising it off the base of the roasting tin and adding extra flavour to the chicken. It also helps to make the best gravy ever so I have used this trick with the chicken. Try to get hold of to a higher welfare chicken if you can it is much better not just in terms of flavour but more because of the meaty texture-not the ‘cotton wooly’ texture of meat from many factory raised birds.
My bird is fragrant with rosemary, roasted garlic, juicy with lemon and sweet, sticky carrots AND roasted all in one pan so not much washing up-can you resist?
Here is my;
ROSEMARY AND LEMON ROAST CHICKEN WITH STICKY CARROTS
Approx. 1.8kg higher welfare chicken
Bunch whole carrots (preferably smallish) with tops
1 onion, peeled, cut into chunks
6/8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 tbsp runny honey
A sprig of rosemary
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little butter
- Take the chicken out of the fridge at least 45min before you want to roast it. Don’t even think of washing it. Pat the surface with kitchen paper until it is dry. Pre heat the oven to 200C, Gas 6.
- Scrub the carrots if muddy -there is no need to peel them unless they are blemished. Trim off most of the tops and slice lengthways if too large.
- Choose a roasting tin that will be a snug fit for the carrots with the chicken sitting on top. Put the carrots and onion in the pan and add most of the garlic cloves. Drizzle with honey. Roughly chop up one of the lemons and mix with the carrots. Cut the remaining lemon in half (or quarters) and stuff them into the cavity. Toss everything together.
- Rub the chicken generously with olive oil including the inside. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Make 2 slashes into each of the thickest part of the thigh. Rest the chicken on top of the vegetables and put a folded piece of foil onto the breast tucking it down the sides-so that only the breast is covered. This is not strictly necessary but it is a good idea especially if you have a large bird. Roast in the hot oven for about 45 minutes-if you think that it is sticking give it a little shake.
- Take the chicken out of the oven, transfer it to a plate or similar whilst you give the carrots and onions a good stir making sure that they are coated in all the juices. Put the chicken back on top, remove the foil and cook for a further 40 -45 minutes. Check that it is cooked through-use a fork to press against the meat, especially on the inside of the leg, the juice should run clear. The flesh in this area will still be pinker than the breast/leg meat even when cooked so don’t overcook it! A meat thermometer probe is really useful to check this.
- When cooked take the chicken out of the oven and remove the lemon shells, rosemary and garlic cloves. Tip any juices that are inside the chicken back into the tin with the carrots and then leave the chicken it to rest for at least 20 minutes. Covered in foil It will keep warm for much longer than you think and this resting time is needed for moist meat. With the roasting pan on the hot plate squeeze out the lemon shells and garlic cloves and mix with the carrots. Add a little butter if you like and toss together.
- Serve with potatoes cooked in cream. For a more traditional style meal serve with roast potatoes and gravy.