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Hi.

Welcome to my blog. I write about food, motherhood and all that makes up our days.

Roast Dinner, our way.

Roast Dinner, our way.

Everyone has their roast memories.

My home wasn't a strict roast household. Come Sunday it wasn't an obligatory meal of lamb, potatoes, peas...but a roast graced our hungry plates often enough for it to be a familiar and comforting dish. I remember generous portions of roasted pumpkin and my onion loving mother always made way for a few roasted bulbs. I recall a lean towards roasted lamb however this could be my imagination. I do have strong memories of mint sauce on the table, most certainly because of discussions over its merit. You either love this stuff or hate it, am I right? It's not my thing.

My husband holds strong feelings of nostalgia when it comes to roast dinners. His Aunty Val's potatoes are legendary, and he always adored his mother's version. Though he is ever keen to pronounce when things aren't up to scratch. Yes, he's a bit of a roast potato snob. I can't blame him though...a perfectly roast potato is an accomplishment indeed, a thing of true, crisp, golden beauty.

Though I adore the nationalistic roasted lamb, I just cannot go past a roast chicken. There's nothing quite like it, with a generous, herbed body and deliriously crispy skin. Our local butcher stocks organic and free range chickens, so I favour those birds instead of other roasted meats. Plus I love to use the bones to make stock, simmered for hours on the stove...oh it makes the most divine broth for soups and cooking grains. But back to the roast dinner itself...

Our method for roasting chicken and potatoes and other vegetables has changed over the years. I am a huge fan of Valli Little's chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. And for an everyday roasted vegetable assembly, I'll simply chop then toss them in the oven, seasoned with olives oil, sea salt and pepper. Maybe some herbs or spices. But recently we've been churning out roasted chicken and potatoes in a particular way and just swooning over the results. I thought I'd share this with you today.

Roast dinner, our way. Creating memories and new rituals in this little home of ours. Without mint sauce...

Roast dinner, our way.

Inspired by Barbara Kafka’s roasted chicken and Jamie Oliver’s roasted potatoes.

Ensure you have a large roasting pan that can go in the oven and on the stove top.

Serves 4

Roasted Chicken
1 organic, free range Chicken
1 unwaxed lemon
4 cloves Garlic
5 sprigs fresh Thyme
2 big fresh Sage Leaves
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
~ 1/3 cup Dry White Wine (for the pan and gravy)

Roasted Potatoes
4-6 medium Russet Potatoes, depending on potato size and hunger level (or other high starch potato, i.e. Dutch Creams)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper

Roasted Carrots
1 bunch Dutch Carrots (so you have 1-2 carrots each)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper

Peas
1 & 1/2 cups Peas (frozen - and you can use less but we are a pea loving house)
Option: add some fresh mint leaves and a dash of red wine vinegar for a vibrant something something.

Method

Let’s chicken:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius and bring your bird to room temperature (to allow for more even cooking).
2. Wash your chicken thoroughly (both the outside and the cavity). Cut off the wings and save these for stock. Pat your chicken dry with paper towel, then place in a large roasting pan. Season your chicken generously with salt and pepper (always add more then you think you’ll need!!) and a little olive oil to keep things happy. Massage this seasoning into both sides of the chicken, all over it.
3. Peel your garlic cloves but keep them whole, and cut your lemon in half. Add half the lemon and some garlic to the cavity, then some thyme and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Season then add the remaining lemon, garlic, thyme and 1 more tablespoon of butter. Season again.
4. Lift the skin above the breast gently and insert a sage leaf over each breast, then keenly pour the last tablespoon of butter in here too. Leave the chicken breast side up. It is now ready for roasting.

Let’s potato:
5. Wash your potatoes then cut them into halves. Put them in a pot of cold water, just to cover them, then bring to the boil. Cook at a simmer for ~4-7 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes - you want them to only slightly cooked and still firm on the inside), then drain them. Put them back into the pan with the lid on, then shake them to make the surface “smushed” and fluffy. This helps them to get extra crispy. Set aside then add them to the pan (face down!) with the chicken when you’re ready to pop it into the oven. Drizzle olive oil in the pan (place the potatoes on top of that oil) and season with a little salt and pepper.

6. Place the chicken and potatoes into the oven for 20 minutes (chicken breast side up and potatoes face down). Now prep your carrots.

Let’s carrot:
7. Wash your carrots, season with olive oil, a little salt and pepper, and set aside to place in the oven after 20 minutes (if you have very big carrots you can pop these in at the same time as the potatoes. Medium-sized carrots will take ~40 minutes to roast nicely).

After 20 minutes…
8. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Carefully flip the chicken so the breast is now facing down. Flip the potatoes so the face is up, then smush gently with a potato masher. Add the seasoned carrots to the pan, then pop it all back into the oven for another 20 minutes. If needed, add a dash of wine to the pan.

After another 20 minutes
9. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Carefully flip the chicken so the breast is back facing up. Flip the potatoes so the face is back down and rotate the carrots. If needed, add a dash of wine to the pan. Pop it all back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes, depending on the side of your bird. You’ll know it is cooked when a skewer inserted into the thigh releases clear juices. Turn the oven off.

When the chicken is done
10. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a board lined with a big piece of foil. You have two choices here: to prioritise crispy skin, place the chicken breast side up. To prioritise super moist breast, place the chicken breast side down. On this night we rested the chicken breast side up. Cover with foil and leave for 10 minutes while you prepare your peas and gravy. Remove the potatoes and carrots from the pan, place in a smaller oven-proof dish and spoon some juices over the top to help keep it moist. Place the potatoes and carrots back into the off (but still warm) oven to keep them warm.

Pea and gravy time:
11. Place the peas in a small saucepan and cover with water, bring to a boil then cook for a few minutes until cooked, then drain. Alternatively, steam them. Add the mint and red wine vinegar if using.

12. Add ~1/3 cup white wine to the roasting pan and place over medium heat on the stove. Simmer it for ~10 minutes until it’s thick and gravy like.

Serve it up:
13. Plate up your favourite piece of chicken meat with the peas and carrots, then fight over the crispiest potatoes. Drizzle with gravy and voila!

Heidi xo 

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