Or, reasons I love roast chicken. Vegans look away now.
What is it about cooking a roast dinner that feels like a real accomplishment?
For me, it’s a roast chicken.
I think it must stem from childhood. A roast chicken dinner was always my mums Go To roast. Now I have two kids of my own, I get it. I get the fact that it is no easy feat to put a meal like that on the table. It’s not just the ability to have all the ingredients in the right place at the right time, but the time it takes to cook something like this, the attention to detail.
Now, it is my Go To roast and a much-loved comfort food. Like a ritual, it feels special and full of magic.
This is not just nutrition; it is emotional sustenance too.
Making a roast chicken dinner feels like a declaration of love.
One of my favourite ways to cook a roast chicken is something I learnt from a friend whilst on a teaching/sailing holiday in Greece. If you can make a roast chicken in a tiny galley kitchen on a boat, then you can make a roast chicken anywhere.
We were island hopping close to Athens. Sailing through the days and eating a hearty meal in the evening on land in the local taverna’s. But we’d made timely progress this particular day and we’d docked in time for a late lunch, which my friend and I were tasked with.
The islands we were visiting were quaint and unspoilt. Some of them feature on this list. Very Greek, very charming, full of history and very picture postcard. Some didn’t even have cars!
It is fair to say we didn’t have a huge choice of supermarkets to check out for our lunch adventure. Top of our list, despite this, was to get a chicken. We were both craving the taste of home and hadn’t really thought about how we’d cook it on the boat.
My friend proved everyone wrong. With lemons, fresh rosemary, oregano, garlic and white wine we cooked the chicken in the tiny oven on board the boat. To this day I can remember how good it tasted, and how simple it was.
- 1 medium to large chicken. buy the best you can afford
- 4-5 unwaxed lemons
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Large pinch of dried Oregano
- Fresh Rosemary (about 10 small sprigs/two stems)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 250ml White white
- *optional, thin-skinned chopped potatoes to cook in the pan with the chicken
- Place the chicken in a roasting pan and rub with olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Slice one lemon in half and squeeze the juice out over the chicken.
- Slice the remaining lemons into quarters.
- Use the quartered lemons, chopped garlic, rosemary to stuff inside the chicken.
- Add the potatoes if using.
- Sprinkle the Oregano on top, add the white wine and cover with the lid of the roasting pan or a generous amount of foil.
- Cook at a low-temperature Gas Mark 3/160 for about an hour, then remove the cover and baste.
Pop it back in the oven, uncovered for 45 minutes. Then baste again, turning your oven up to Gas 7/220 and cook for another 20-30 minutes.
- Always make sure the juices run clear before eating. Your chicken might need less or more time in the oven.
- Leave to rest before carving. Enjoy!
Are there any foods that you crave whilst on holiday?
Or perhaps there is something you make at home which is always nourishing to your mind, as well as your belly?
Let me know in the comments!