Perfect roast chicken with sage and thyme and a delicious and easy pan gravy makes for the ideal centrepiece for a classic Sunday lunch.
A medium chicken will roast in around an hour and 10 minutes and the resting time gives you all the time you need to make the best and easiest gravy!
The Perfect Sunday Roast
You can take the Brit out of Britain, but you can’t take the Britain out of the Brit! As much as my food is influenced by global flavours I still have a huge love for classic simple British food.
Sunday lunch is of course at the heart of that love too! A simple whole roast chicken is a thing of great beauty and is the star of so many Sunday lunches.
And with roast chicken you need a good gravy, this simplest of meals has been complicated over time.
But it really needn’t be any stress at all!
This dish takes between an hour and half and an hour and an hour and 45 minutes, it uses a medium chicken (1.5-2kg) and includes the resting time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you remove the wishbone?
The first thing I do is to remove the wishbone, this makes the bird easier to carve. You can see how I do this in the video below, it is in the first few seconds.
Don’t worry if you cannot be bothered, it does not have an impact on the cooking!
Do I really need a meat thermometer?
As far as I am concerned, yes. The key to roasting meat is hitting the right internal temperature. A meat thermometer ensures that you get this right every single time.
Why do you put butter between the skin and the breast meat?
It offers a layer of protection for the delicate breast meat and it bastes the chicken as it bakes. This means that the breast is less prone to drying out, it’s also the perfect way to add flavour!
How do I loosen the skin?
To loosen the skin simply place your finger under the skin at the cavity end. Then free up the membrane in the centre near the breast bone.
Once that is free you can gently work it and get your whole hand in there!
Can I stuff the cavity?
I never stuff a bird because it has an impact on cooking time and makes it unpredictable.
Is resting important?
Yes, absolutely, in fact, it is every bit as important as any other part of the recipe, DO NOT skip this step.
Rather than stuffing the bird I also always make some sage and onion stuffing balls. You can roast them in the pan alongside the chicken.
If you want something a little different how about this delicious vegetable crumble.
Finally, if you have leftovers, then you must give this simple leftover chicken soup a whirl it is wonderful!
I only recommend specific brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- Roasting tin, if you are using an induction hob make sure that it is ok on an induction hob.
- Fine mesh sieve.
- Paring knife to remove the wishbone (optional).
- Instant read meat thermometer.
- Small-medium mixing bowl.
You can't really beat a perfectly roast hunk of meat with a pan gravy and a whole chicken is a frugal family favourite and at the heart of the Great British or English Sunday lunch!
- 1 Whole Chicken (1½-2kg)
- ¾ Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
- 50g (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Softened Butter
- 10 Sage Leaves
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
For the Pan Gravy
- 1½ Tbsp Flour
- 250ml (1 Cup) Chicken Stock
- Salt, To taste
- Remove the wishbone from the chicken (See the video in the Frequently Asked Questions section) then gently tease the skin away from the breast of the bird. It is easier to do that from the cavity end.
- Pick the leaves from the thyme and chop them with the fresh sage and add them to the softened butter with a quarter of a teaspoon of coarse sea salt.
- Dry the chicken inside and out as far as possible, then place the butter mix under the skin. Massage this butter so that it forms a uniform layer over the breasts.
- Season the cavity of the bird with the remaining salt.
- Place the chicken in a baking tray and then into a hot oven at 220ºC or 450ºF for 20 minutes.
- Then reduce the temperature to 180ºC or 350ºF and cook for a further 30 minutes per kilogram.
- Use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the bird before moving. You want a temperature of 68ºC or 155ºF.
- Tilt the bird when removing from the pan to allow any internal juices to run into the pan. Then allow the chicken to rest for 20-30 minutes.
- The internal temperature of the bird will rise into the safe zone of 74ºC or 165ºF during this time.
For the Pan Gravy.
- Pour out the contents of the roasting tin into a bowl.
- Tilt the bowl and skim the fat off the top.
- Return 2 tablespoons of this fat to the roasting tin and palace it over a medium heat.
- Add the flour for the gravy and whisk for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the juices from the chicken and whisk for another minute or two.
- Add in the chicken stock and test for seasoning.
- Add any further resting juices from the chicken when it is carved.
- Finally, pass through a fine-mesh sieve before pouring into a jug.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 482Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 585mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 43g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.