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feed a family of 4 for (just over) £100 a month
Roast Chicken for Christmas
How Do I Make A Roast Chicken Christmas Lunch?
This lunch, as part of a Christmas week meal plan, has quite a few different elements
- the roast chicken
- stuffed onions
- yorkshire puddings
To deliver them all, piping hot, to the table at the same time involves a bit of organisation. The recipe card has all the timings and detailed instructions, and here’s a summary.
- First of all, put the bird in to roast.
- Make the stuffing and put in a small roasting tin, or shape into balls and place in the tin. Drizzle with oil.
- Mix the Yorkshire puddings and put to one side.
- Using a potato peeler, gouge out a sausage sized hole down the centre of the onions and stuff with half a sausage. Reserve the gouged out onion.
- Peel and boil the potatoes until almost cooked through. Drain (reserve the cooking water) rough the edges by shaking the saucepan and put in a roasting pan. Drizzle with oil and season.
- Chop carrots into 3″ pieces.
- Peel onions and halve or quarter, depending on size.
- Place carrots and onions in a small roasting dish, oil and season and add bay leaves and garlic cloves if you have them.
- Put the potatoes and vegetables in the oven, with the chicken.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from the oven, place on a warmed serving platter and cover to let it rest.
- Place oil in a Yorkshire pudding tin and heat in the oven until smoking hot – the smoking hot is key.
- Remove the pudding tin, pour in the batter, which should sizzle and quickly place back in the oven on the top shelf.
- Place the stuffing balls underneath the pudding.
- Now make the gravy. Using the chicken roasting pan, use all the lovely juices from the chicken. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer gently on the hob, scraping up the sticky bits every now and then. Whisk in a couple of tablespoons of flour to thicken.
- Cook the sprouts.
- You’re ready to serve!
What Changes Can I Make?
This meal is for 4 people, if there are 2 of you, you will need to spread everything out over more days.
Use any vegetables that you like – chopped cabbage, pureed swede and carrot, a bit of cauliflower cheese. There are many vegetables that go with a roast lunch.
Other Christmas Lunches
This roast chicken lunch is an alternative in a whole weeks meal plan for Christmas Week
Or this is part of a meal plan which also covers the whole Christmas Week and costs less than £2 a day each
- 2 kg chicken a whole bird
- 320 g carrots
- 320 g brussels sprouts
- 700 g potatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tblsp oil for roasting
- 160 g onions
- 15 g to rub into the chicken for crispy skin
cochons en couverture
- 4 onions medium ones, peeled
- 2 sausages smartprice ones, halved
- 1 egg
- 75 ml milk
- 55 ml water
- 2 tblsp fat fat from the roast
- 75 g flour must be plain
- 400 ml apple juice up to, you may not need this much
- vegetable cooking water
- 2 tblsps flour
- 1 tsp mustard powder (optional)
- A sprig of rosemary, or thyme or a few sage leaves if you have them
- 80 g mixed dried fruit
- 150 g breadcrumbs
- 160 g onion
- 50 ml oil
- sage leaves if you have them
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
Two and a half hours before you want to serve the meal
- Start by warming your oven to 220C/425F/Gas7. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and rub the butter all over the skin. Place the bird breast side up into a roasting tray and put into the oven.
- Roast the bird for 30 minutes, then turn down the heat to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 and cook for a further hour and a half. Place it on the bottom shelf of the oven.
- Soak the mixed dried fruit in a little warm water until plumped up. Drain. Finely chop the onion, or whizz in a food processer. Mix all stuffing ingredients together. Shape into small balls and place in a small roasting tin and drizzle with oil.
- Put all the ingredients for the Yorkshire puddings into a large bowl or food processer and whizz until well combined.
Cochons en Couverture
- Cut the top and bottom centimetre off 4 medium onions, approximately the size of tennis balls. Using your potato peeler/apple corer, remove the centre of the onion, gouging a hole the same diameter as the sausage. Cut 2 sausages in half and insert into the onion cavity. Roast these along with your potatoes. Reserve the centres of your onions to add more flavour to your gravy.
An hour and a half before you want to serve the meal.
- Peel the potatoes and chop into even sized pieces. Boil for 4-5 minutes until almost done. Drain, saving the vegetable water. While the potatoes are still hot, place them in a roasting dish or tray and rough the edges a little. Drizzle with oil, add some salt and pepper. Place on the top shelf of the oven. Wash the carrots, and cut off the top as close to the top as you can. You need large pieces of carrots as you are going to roast them, so cut into pieces 3 ins long and then cut in half lenthways. Peel the onions. Chop any very large onions into halves, or quarters if very large.
- Place the carrots and onions in a roasting dish or tray that is just large enough to hold them. Toss through a little oil and grind over some salt and pepper. Tuck in a bay leaf or two and some whole garlic cloves if you have them, don't worry if you don't.
- Place the carrots and onions in the oven, on the middle shelf, under the potatoes.
40 Minutes before you want to serve the meal
- Turn the oven up to 220oC/Gas mark 7/425oF. The chicken should now be ready, you need to cook the Yorkshire puddings and stuffing. Check the bird is cooked through by pulling the leg away from the breast and ensuring the juices run clear. Carefully transfer the chicken from the roasting dish into a serving dish. Covering it with tin foil, leave it to rest and keep it warm.
- Remove the roasted vegetables and cover with foil, keep warm. Place 2 tbslps oil in the pudding tin(s). Use some of the chicken fat from the roasting tin if you can for extra flavour. Place the Yorkshire pudding tin on the middle shelf to heat.
- When really hot, remove, place on the worktop and tip/spoon the batter in, it should sizzle when it hits the tin. Immediately place back in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes for small ones, 25-30 minutes for a large one, until risen and golden brown.
- After a while, place the stuffing balls on the bottom shelf and cook for 15-20 minutes. While the pudding and stuffing are cooking, make your gravy.
- Spoon away any excess fat in the tray (keeping it for later use, in the yorkshire pudding) then add the apple juice, and some of the cooking water from the vegetables and place the tray on the hob. Bring it to the boil and allow it to simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to stir in the tasty bits from the bottom of the tray. Add salt and pepper and a little mustard if you have it, don't worry if you haven't.
- You can add herbs now if you like, a sprig of thyme or rosemary would be nice, or some sage leaves. Stir in 2 tblsps flour and whisk gently to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If the flour won't whisk in and you have lumps, take any herbs out, put the gravy in a jug and give it a little whizz with a stick blender, or push it through a sieve. When the gravy is a nice, dark colour pour it into a bowl or gravy boat and keep warm.
- Finally, put the Brussels sprouts in a saucepan on the hob with a little salted water and simmer until tender, drain.
- Check the puddings and stuffing. The potatoes should be a deep golden brown with a lovely crunch. If the potatoes need a bit longer, take everything else out and keep warm while the potatoes have a final blast. Now you're all ready.
- Serve 100g of chicken per person, reserving the rest for other meals in the week.
- Keep any leftover vegetables for your spanish omelette and your chicken to use in place of pork in the tortilla wraps recipe, if you are following our Christmas planner.
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