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May 9, 2011

The roast chicken dinner need not be a big mystery.  The main thing you have to do is cook the chicken well.  Basically a small bird will take about 30 – 35  minutes and a large bird about 45- 50 minutes at 230 C.   However you can always tell if a chicken is cooked by just pressing on its two legs.  If the leg “gives” and the juices from the leg joint run clear, then it is cooked.  Take it out, cover with foil and let it rest for about a quarter of an hour before serving.


1.  Wash the chicken and dry well inside and out with kitchen towels.  Place a whole onion in the cavity of the chicken.  Sprinkle the chicken skin with salt and ground black pepper.  Some thyme or rosemary is also nice but this is optional.  Place  the chicken in a roasting pan with 2 tbspns of oil.  (Not olive oil as it doesn’t get to high enough temperature. Use another vegetable oil like canola. ) Place the pan in an oven preheated to 230 C.

2.  Cook the chicken (small) for half an hour then check to see if it is cooked.   If it is a larger bird (1 kg or over) cook it to about 40 minutes and then check using the “pulling the leg” method.   It will probably take 50 minutes to an hour depending on size.   If it is cooked take it out of the oven and cover with foil and allow to rest for 1/4 of an hour before serving.


1.  While many people boil their potatoes before roasting my mum never did that so I stick to the family recipe. Cut  potatoes into four and place with whole onions and large chunks of sweet potato on a separate baking tray.  Add two tablespoons of oil and mix the vegetables with a spoon to cover them with oil.  Place the roasting pan in the 230 C oven for an hour.  Turn the vegetables after 20 minutes of cooking time.  And then turn them again after 20 minutes if you are really keen for crispy vegetables. 

2.  Be careful with pumpkin because when it is seeded it is usually quite thin and doesn’t take an hour to cook.  I only add pumpkin to the roast vegetable pan for a half hour rather than the whole hour along with carrots and parsnips. 


This is quite complicated and you might just want to use a packet mix.  However here is how I do it.

1.  Place the vegetable roasting pan with all it’s baked on pieces of vegetables  on to a moderate hot plate on top of the stove.   Pour the juices from the chicken roasting pan into the vegetable roasting pan.  Make sure you get any crispy bits off the bottom to include in your gravy making.  

Sprinkle about two tablespoons of flour into the vegetable roasting pan and then mix the flour with the pan juices until it forms a roux.  This means a rather gluggy mess.  I generally stir this around for about 1 -2 minutes to brown it.  Add two good cupfuls of water and keep stirring over a moderate hot plate until it forms a smooth, thick sauce.  Don’t panic if it looks awful for a while, eventually you will get there.  If it looks too thick add some more water and keep stirring.  If you get lumps don’t worry just put it through a sieve prior to serving.

2.   Add salt and pepper to taste to the gravy mixture and keep warm until time to serve.

Serves 2

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