You’ll remember when I posted about roast beef that I promised a post soon covering chicken. Since I was only making the the rest of the spag bol tonight, I thought I might as well post about the chicken I made for Easter Sunday last week. (By the way, if you’re curious, we were at a wedding reception last night and so didn’t eat at home – the planned mushroom stroganoff will stay in the freezer til next week).
The advice about sides remains the same as in the roast beef post – this time I made roast potatoes again, served carrots, green beans and cabbage, and did stuffing instead of Yorkshire puddings.
Roast chicken and gravy (serves 4-5 with leftovers)
- 1 whole chicken – mine was free range, weighed 1.5kg and fed five of us, with enough meat picked off the back and bones for Mr Chilli and I to have a meal next week £7.64
- 50g butter, 20p
- 1 lemon, 27p
- 1 massive onion, 33p (obviously use 2 normal ones or 3-4 small ones or whatever you’ve got) you can also add carrots and/or celery, but I didn’t have any to spare)
- fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary or thyme, optional – I used about 1/4 pack of sage, as I’dd bought some for the stuffing 17p
- Olive oil – just a tiny bit to brush over
- 1 tbsp plain flour (less than 1p)
- 250ml chicken stock (counted as free as home made from bones leftover from a roast)
- 100ml cider or white wine (optional, again, going to count as free as cider was left from a party ages ago)
Preheat your oven as hot as it’ll go. Chop your onion(s) into wedges and arrange into the bottom of a high-sided roasting tin. Pop the chicken on top and stuff the cavity with the lemons. Make a small slit in the skin at the bottom of each breast and push a couple of slices of butter into each breast, along with the fresh herbs. Brush the skin all over with a little olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
Put into the oven and reduce the heat to 200C. Cook for 1 hour 20 minutes (adjust cooking times depending on size of chicken). Remove from the oven. Move the chicken onto a plate, resting for 15-20 minutes or so (pouring any juices from the cavity into the roasting tin) and put the tin onto the hob on a medium heat. Stir the flour in to the pan juices well (just keep the onions in there), add the cider (if using) and whisk in. Add the stock and some water if not using alcohol, bring to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Add more water or stock if it reduces too much, and season to taste. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Serve the chicken with roasted potatoes, veg, stuffing and the gravy.
An expensive £1.72 per portion, but I got two “free” extra portions of back meat and put the bones in the freezer to make stock another time. Even adding in potatoes, veg and stuffing, it’s still miles cheaper than going out for Sunday lunch!
Sage, onion and chestnut stuffing (serves 5-6)
I used to make the sage and onion stuffing in this Mrs Beeton recipe, but I always founds it very wet and sloppy (maybe because I never added egg). One time, I had leftover cooked chestnuts as I’d added the other half of the pack to something else, so I decided to swap some of the onion in the recipe for chestnuts and was seriously impressed. The chestnuts solved my texture problem and gave the mix a lovely sweetness as well. The recipe is very flexible so you can add other ingredients or change the ratio as you see fit.
- 200g cooked chestnuts £1.47
- 2 small onions, peeled and cut into quarters 6p
- 100-150g breadcrumbs (free from the bag I keep in the freezer)
- 1/2 pack sage 34p
Boil the onions in a small pan for five minutes or so, adding the sage for the last minute of cooking. Drain and pop into a food processor and whizz briefly. Add the chestnuts and whizz again until well combined. Stir through the breadcrumbs and season very well – you do need a decent amount of salt to make stuffing perfect.
The best way to cook this is to use a twelve-hole muffin tray and put a ball of mix into each space on the tray. It only takes about 15 minutes or so in the oven while your potatoes finish, and once cooked, can be frozen easily for next time.
31p per serving of two stuffing balls.