I don’t know whether you watched the movie Chicken Run. If you did then you would know the story, but if you didn’t (and have no interest in doing so) it’s about a chicken who is obsessed with escaping from a farm. Hopefully not all chickens are unhappy in their chicken runs; if this was so we wouldn’t have our lovely roasts for the weekends!
I’ve always loved chicken. I find it to be so versatile. I discovered the joys of preparing a roast with it when I got Nigella Express from J. I’ve never made it before that but when I did, it became one of my favourites. Depending on the size it could make an ideal meal for two, or if sliced it could be stretched even further.
You have two options: either to roast the chicken by itself (reserving another pan for the potatoes and veggies), or to assemble everything in one pan. I opt for the second option, just because I found a great enamelled cast iron pan where the meat and everything else fits nice and snug. But it’s totally up to you.
To get that chicken moist from the inside and tasty from the outside I would suggest inserting an onion or some garlic and either one lemon (halved) or an orange in the cavity. Then rub some melted butter (around two tablespoons) on top or some olive oil, rosemary and salt & pepper to taste. I usually leave it at that. (However the next time I cook this I’ll try to remember to cover the bird with some bacon slices.) If you’re adding the vegetables I would put some water or stock at the bottom, not too much, just enough to make sure that nothing burns at the bottom of your pan.
The cooking time depends of course on your oven. Mine’s got a bit of a temperament – I don’t know why. And remember that chicken has to be cooked properly until the juices run clear. To be sure I always check by cutting it between a leg and a thigh bone. The trick to a great roast chicken is the dimensions of the roasting pan that you choose to cook it in. If the pan is too big you’ll end up burning your dinner. Alas..I’ve learnt this the hard way!
For a different take on a roast try Nigella’s Chicken and Chorizo with potatoes.