The little fella has been really accepting about eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole foods. He has almost stopped asking if there is pudding and no longer expects the snack option to be anything other than fruit, nuts, seeds or yogurt. So when he put in a request last week for a “proper” Sunday roast, how could I deny him? He wanted chicken so that is what he got.
I like my chicken to be cooked with tarragon and lemon. I think the aniseed in tarragon goes beautifully with chicken. I put the chicken in to a roasting tray and rub olive oil on to the outside of the chicken, then squeeze half a lemon over it and put the squeezed half in the breast cavity. I then add tarragon (ideally fresh but dried will do), salt and pepper to the outside of the chicken. I poured about 130 ml of white wine in to the roasting tray, some celery and an onion which I had quartered. This creates a small amount of richly flavoured stock, which I use as the base for the gravy.
I put the chicken in the oven at 220 ° C for half an hour and then turn the oven down to 170 ° C for about 1 and a half hours, but it could be more or less, depending on how big the chicken is. When it is cooked, I put it on the carving board, cover it with foil to keep warm and let it rest for about 10 – 15 minutes so I can finish off the meal and make gravy.
I make the gravy in the roasting tray we cooked the chicken it. I throw away the bits of celery and onion but keep any brown sticky bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. I add some of the water I have used to steam vegetables with and add it to the juices from the chicken . I bring it to the boil and add 1 – 2 tsp of cornflour which I have mixed with cold water. This thickens the gravy. I taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.
Not diet food but I was making these for the family and then succumbed and had 2 as they were so delicious. I peel the potatoes and parboil them for 10 minutes. I drain them, pop them back in the pan and then shake the pan to fluff up the potato on the outside. I add about 2 tbsp of groundnut oil to a roasting tray which I put in the oven to warm before adding the potatoes. When the oil is warm, I add the potatoes and turn them so they are lightly coated in oil. I put them back in the oven and cook them on 190 ° C for about 1 hour. If you have used a good type of potato for roasting (I like Maris Piper), your potatoes will be crispy on the outside and soft inside. You can see from the picture I have hardly used any oil so they are not disastrous for a diet treat.
To go with the chicken and potatoes I looked to Veg every day! for inspiration. I made the parsnips chips as we hadn’t had any parsnip yet this year and the Brussels, cooked with shallots, thyme and lemon.
The parsnips were great. Peel and quarter the parsnips lengthways. Lightly rub with olive oil and place in a roasting tray and add salt and pepper. Roast at 190 °C for about 45 minutes. They were lovely and just like the recipe said, crunchy and chewy at the thin end and soft and sweet at the thick end.
I was not thrilled with the Brussels though. I chopped the stalk off and peeled the outer leaves then cut the brussels in half. I put them in a dish with peeled shallots, some fresh thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I put them in the oven on 190 °C for 35 minutes. They did over cook but mine looked very similar to the picture in the recipe book. I prefer other methods of cooking brussels – sorry Hugh!
I also cooked a butternut squash. I peeled it, scraped out the seeds, cut it in to chunks and steamed it for 10 – 15 minutes until it was soft. It mashes so easily you don’t need to add butter so it is a healthy addition to the plate and a very tasty one. It goes beautifully with chicken.
The little fella loved his lunch and asked if he could have another “Sunday roast on Monday”. Er, no. Monday will be ultra healthy to make up for the misdemeanours of the last 3 days.