A roast chicken dinner is the ultimate Sunday comfort meal and something that I really crave during these times of isolation away from friends and family. I have nostalgic memories of my mother cooking a Sunday’s dinner and bringing the family together to a comforting meal before the start of the week. Sharing a whole-roasted bird for dinner is a luxury that I wish everyone can enjoy.
Why Buy a Whole Bird?
At the time of writing we are all stuck in isolation without the opportunity to share a meal with others and that makes me crave it even more. If you are stuck at home alone I highly recommend you make this for yourself for two reasons. The first reason is that knowing how to make a roast chicken dinner is an important skill, and the second is that this meal will save you a lot of time and money. A roasted chicken can provide 4 portions of meat and making soup with the leftover roasted bones is another economic and healthy option making a possible 5 portions in total. Don’t forget about the glorious left-over chicken sandwiches you can make the next day too!
This recipe can be made in one day but it’s much better if you buy the chicken one day ahead and let it marinade in the spices overnight. Drying the chicken overnight in the fridge also makes the skin incredibly crispy!
Should I Brine My Bird?
If you are planning to make this for a special occasion and have extra time to plan ahead, I recommend you check out this legendary Thomas Kellar roast chicken recipe. He uses a brine which helps to keep the meat juicy and then dries the chicken out in the fridge for a couple of days which makes for super crispy chicken skin. If you have the time, do it, if not then follow my recipe for a great roast that doesn’t take 3 days to prepare.
Here’s the deal:
How To Make A Roast Chicken Dinner - With Mushroom Gravy
- roasting pan or casserole
- 1 whole chicken 1.6 kilo, the best quality you can afford
- 5 whole medium sized russet potatoes
- 1 bunch thyme
- 1/2 lemon
- 250 g snap peas or snow peas
- 2 onions peeled and cut in half
- 5 cloves garlic peeled
- sea salt and pepper
- 20 g soft butter
- 20 ml vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp celery salt
- 1 tbsp salt
Chicken Overnight Marinade
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 40 g butter
- 40 g flour
- 500 ml chicken broth
- 250 g chestnut or button mushrooms
- 2 tbsp butter for cooking the mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic peeled and grated with a microplane
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley flat-leaf, washed and dried
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- Begin by drying the chicken off with paper towel. Most whole chickens come pre-tied now but if yours did not then not check out the video linked above on how to truss a chicken properly. A properly trussed chicken ensures even cooking.
- Now mix the chicken marinade seasoning together and cover liberally all over the chicken and inside the cavity. Place on a roasting tray/casserole in the fridge preferably overnight or at least two hours.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to roast. Set the oven temperature to 250C/475F.
- Wash the potatoes and cut into big wedges and line up in the roasting tray/casserole with the peeled garlic and onions. Season with salt and pepper and add two splashes of water to the bottom.
- Stuff the inside of the chicken with half a lemon and a bunch of thyme. Rub the chicken with the softened butter all over the skin and and season generously with a mixture of half celery salt and half sea salt. Put the chicken in the hot oven and immediately turn down the heat to 200C/400F. Cook until the juices run clear in the leg meat when checked with a knife (Approx. 1 hour + 20mins depending on the size of the bird)
- As the bird is cooking check the top of bird to make sure it doesn't burn. If it's starting to brown too quickly on the top you can cover the breast meat with tin foil to prevent further browning until the legs are fully cooked.
- While your chicken is cooking you can blanch the peas in boiling salted water for about 1 minute and let cool on a plate with paper towel. Measure out the rest of the ingredients for the gravy and cut the mushrooms into quarters. Grate one clove of garlic into a small bowl and add a splash of olive oil to make a garlic oil which we will use to finish the mushrooms.
- When the chicken is ready, pull it out of the oven and carefully transfer the bird onto a plate with high sides. Cover the chicken with tin foil and let it rest for about 20 minutes in a warm place. Discard the onions and garlic from the potatoes and remove any liquid (if any) from the casserole dish. If there is liquid left over then save this for the gravy.
- Add the oil to the potatoes and toss around in the pan. Season liberally with salt and put back into the oven at 250C475F for about 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Now start cooking your mushrooms in lots of butter and brown nicely. As soon as the mushrooms are browned, turn off the heat, hit them with the garlic oil, toss in the pan and set aside. Add the equal parts of flour and butter to the same pan and cook slowly with a whisk until it turns a nice light brown colour. Let cool for 5 minutes. Begin to add hot chicken broth slowly, whisking quickly to prevent any lumps from forming. Cook for about 2 minutes until it has a nice consistency and add your cooked mushrooms. Cut the parsley thinly and add it the gravy. Season the gravy nicely with salt and pepper and squeeze a little bit of lemon juice in (just a couple drops!). Keep this sauce warm.
- Once the potatoes have a beautiful golden colour remove from the pan and drain on paper towel. Check the chicken again - all the those beautiful juices that dripped out the chicken while it rested need to go into the gravy. Add the juices and bring the gravy up to a boil before serving. Lastly get a medium sized pan hot with some butter and add the blanched peas. Just warm it quickly for about 1-2 minutes, season with salt and pepper and a splash of fresh lemon juice.Place everything to share on the table and carve the chicken on the table.