Roasting a chicken is one of life’s simple pleasures. Not only does it fill the house with delicious aromas, but it provides a bounty of food possibilities. Under strict orders from Matthew to be more thrifty, this is perfect!
So for the basis of our summer supper I leafed through my new Rosie Lovell cookbook to see what she’d do with a bird. Smear it with lemon and thyme butter, then stuff it with lemons – that’s what!
A little roast chicken with lemons
100g butter (at room temperature)
2 tsps of fresh or dried thyme
freshly ground pepper
Maldon sea salt
1 x 1.5kg whole chicken
Pre-heat oven to 180c.
Grate the zest of the lemons and add to the softened butter. Beat the mixture so it becomes smooth and well combined.
Add the thyme, salt and pepper and give it another beating.
Place the chicken on a large work surface. Unwrap the legs, and separate the skin from the breasts by diving in with your hands. There may be a membrane you may need to release.
Where you have made the pockets in the chicken, between the breast and the skin, spoon in some of this butter and spread it down the bird with your hands so that it covers the whole of the breast, internally.
Now slash a few incisions down the thighs, drumsticks and wings, and rub the remaining butter over these.
Cut the zested lemons in half and stuff them in the cavity of the bird. I only has room for two halves.
Place the chicken in the roasting tin, with 2cm of water, and roast according to weight instructions. Once it’s cooked the juices should run clear.
My chicken looks like it’s about to swim the channel! It smelt divine though.
And here’s the little beauty resting after emerging from the oven. Golden, magnificent and feels so indulgent for a midweek dinner.
Here’s the potato salad I knocked up. I used up the bag of potatoes I’d started using earlier in the week. The dressing is mayo, the end of a jar of pesto, three random leftover streaks of bacon and chives from the garden.
It was really tasty but very filling, and Sam found the mayo too rich.
Just a simple salad to finish things off nicely.
I’m slightly obsessed with making fresh milkshakes at the moment. On these super sticky hot days in urbanville, there really is nothing finer than sipping on chilled frothy fruity milk. When Matthew gets home after his 14 mile cycle ride, he thinks a glass of this is the best welcome.
I chucked a couple of bananas in a jug with a slurp of maple syrup and a pint of milk. Whizzed it all up with the stick blender until it was frothy – bang done!
It’s also a fab way to use up fruit that’s about to turn. Strawberries, peaches, mangoes and nectarines all work well. Not to mention an easy way of getting fruit into the kids.
Here’s our dog Lily, waiting patiently for chicken scraps. She gets very restless indeed when there’s a chicken roasting in the oven. It’s her favourite thing in the world when i’m stripping the bird down ready to make stock with the carcass. I like to get as much meat off as I can. Lily gets the skin and wobbly bits.
So back to the budget plot. There was enough leftovers of chicken and salad for Matthew’s packed lunch for the next day. Enough chicken to put in a pot for a separate meal. Plus the stock I made afterwards.
I put the chicken carcass in the biggest pan I own. Threw in a sliced carrot, a couple of sticks of celery, bay leaves, peppercorns and some thyme. I covered the lot with water and then let it simmer on the hob for the evening.
Once it’d cooled I strained it through a sieve and poured the golden liquid into pots for the freezer.
It’s great having fresh stock for risottos and the like. I’ve decided i’m going to make a Thai soup with it using the portion of chicken I also have left. We’re lucky enough to have a Thai supermarket near us, so I’ll be heading there at the weekend for some key ingredients.