What are your go to recipes? Roast chicken is definitely one of my top go to recipes and is constantly popping up in our house. It’s easy, it’s nutritious, it’s comforting and most people I’ve met love it. Add some roast tatties and you’ve a meal that can do you as a simple weeknight meal all the way through to a weekend dinner party with friends.
I was six the first time I made a roast. I can vaguely remember it but my mum can better fill in the details. Supposedly she was quite sick, my brother was a young (busy) toddler and it was her birthday. I came home from school and washed and peeled the vegetables and put them along with the meat in the oven. I’m not sure if gravy made an appearance. I have always loved cooking and was lucky to have a mum that taught and encouraged me to do it – despite the no doubt mess! Since then I have literally made hundreds of roasts because at times I can be quite the lazy cook and I find them just so easy to cook (put everything in the oven and forget) and so easy on the clean up (pretty much one knife, one chopping board and one or two oven trays).
I thought I had the technique nailed for the best ever roast chicken until recently. After my youngest son was born my gorgeous friend Belinda came over almost every week for a month or so and cooked us a meal. When you’re sleep deprived and living off quick meals and take out, to have someone come and cook you a delicious homemade meal (and to clean up!) is like having an angel come to your home. One night she cooked roast chicken, potatoes and fennel slaw which I have (tried to) replicate numerous times since. She took a roast chicken to the next level with her secret ingredient: verjuice! Who would have thought verjuice would equal the best ever roast chicken but it does. Just put a few splashes over your roast chicken before seasoning it then into the oven as normal and out comes the most tender chicken with delicious crispy crunchy skin.
What does the best ever roast chicken need alongside it? The best ever roast tatties (potatoes) too! The secret? You have to par-boil your potatoes first. The rest is simple, I don’t even heat my oil in the oven or use fancy fats like duck or goose fat. If you par-boil your potatoes first then you are sorted with the best ever roast potatoes. Then I take them to the next level…add some cheesy, lemony and fresh herby gremolata and they become some pretty awesome potatoes.
So go out and grab some verjuice and take your roast chicken to the next level.
Best Ever Roast Chicken and Potatoes with Lemon Gremolata
- 1 size 14 1.4kg/3lb free-range chicken
- 2 Tbsp verjuice
- 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1.5 kg/3lb roasting potatoes I like Agria
- 1 tsp sea salt + 1 tsp
- 3 Tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper.
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley curly or flat leaf, finely chopped
- 30 g/1oz parmesan cheese finely grated
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1/2 tsp each of sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the chicken:
Preheat oven to 190C/375F. Line two large baking dishes with baking (parchment) paper (or use non-stick ones).
Put chicken on one baking dish and drizzle with verjuice. Cut lemon in half and place inside cavity of chicken. Leave chicken to soak up verjuice while you wash the potatoes and peel potatoes.
Drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil over chicken and season with 2 tsp sea salt and 1 tsp pepper.
Place in oven to roast for 90-110 minutes or until juices run clear when a sharp knife is inserted into the fleshy part of the chicken.
For the potatoes:
Back to the potatoes. Cut potatoes into roughly 2cm/just under 1inch cubes. I like to make the potatoes all irregular shapes, cutting them on random angles to increase the surface area and to increase the crunch!
Place in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and 1 tsp sea salt, cover with a fitted lid then bring to a boil. Boil for 10 min (watching that they don’t boil over) then draining into a colander. Give the potatoes a bit of a toss in the colander to rough up the edges (equals more crunch) then take chicken out of the oven and scatter enough of the potatoes around the chicken to ensure they cook in a single layer then scatter the rest on the other baking tray. Drizzle with 3 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp of sea salt and 1 tsp pepper.
Place back in the oven to roast with the chicken.
After about 30 min check on the potatoes and give them a toss.
Make the gremolata:
While the potatoes and chicken are cooking make the gremolata by simply mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
When the chicken is ready take everything out of the oven. Leave the chicken to rest for about 5-10min before carving. Scatter the gremolata over the potatoes and serve. Great served alongside a fennel slaw, simple salad or steamed greens.