Posts Tagged ‘roast chicken’

Meredith reminds me that today marks the Chinese New Year.


Chickpea shows his colors

She tells me in the Chinese lunar calendar it is the Year of the Rooster.

When I think about the date–28th January–I’m reminded that it is also marks what would have been my late brother Peter’s 69th birthday.


Peter (seated) directing an episode of Highlander.

I don’t remember Peter having much to do with chickens except that from time to time he most likely ate some.

Peter died almost 11 years ago–quite suddenly aged 58–while out walking his dog in Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

He was a TV drama director at the height of his powers with a great future.

They say that directing TV drama in Tinsel Town is a very stressful occupation.

So to mark Peter’s birthday and the Chinese New Year, here is a simple recipe for Roast Chicken that has served me well for years and features in my latest cookbook, Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics.

Simple Roast Chicken


for 4

  • 1 free range chicken–about a 3 pounder
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic–unpeeled and whole
  • 1 lemon — halved
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • set oven at 190c

Rub the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper

Stuff the cavity with the with the bay leaves, garlic and lemon halves

Place in a roasting pan and into the oven.

Roast the chicken for about one-and-a-half hours.

Baste it about half-way through the cooking process.

It should be nicely browned and when pricked, the juices should run clear, not pink.

Remove from oven.

Pick up the bird with a pair of oven gloves and up end it, letting the juices run back into the pan.

This a little tricky–but worth it for the taste of the gravy.

Tip the pan carefully and spoon out excess fat/oil– leaving about a table spoonful in the pan.

Add the glass of white wine and scrape any residue sticking to the pan.

Gently stir over a lowish heat for 2/3 minutes.

(You can add some stock or more wine to make it go a little further.)

Taste the gravy and season as desired.

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To celebrate the ‘first night’ of the new Poldark on British TV this evening, here’s a roast chicken even Prudie* could cook in the kitchen at Nampara**!


From my first cookbook,  Delicious Dishes for Diabetics:

Every cook has a version of this classic–roast chicken.

This one is inspired by Jamie Oliver’s simple, tasty and robust recipe.

Serves 4/5

1 free-range chicken

olive oil

salt and pepper

6 bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic – unpeeled

a  lemon – halved
a glass white wine

Heat the oven at 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.

Rub the chicken all over with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper

Stuff the cavity with the bay leaves, garlic and lemon halves.

Roast the chicken for 1  1/2 hours.

Halfway through, baste it thoroughly.

When it is cooked, it should be nicely browned and the juices should run clear, not pink.

At that point, remove the pan from the oven and move the cooked bird onto a platter to rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, tip the roasting pan and spoon out most of the fat/oil—leaving about a tablespoonful in the pan.

Pick up the bird carefully with a pair of oven gloves and up-end it, letting the juices run back into the pan. Add any juices that have settled in the platter too.

(A little tricky—but worth it for the taste of the gravy.)

Park the chicken and cover it with foil to keep it warm while you make the gravy.

Add the glass of white wine and scrape any residue sticking to the pan.

Gently stir over a low-ish heat for 2–3 minutes.

You could add some stock or more wine to make it go a little further.

Taste and pour into a warmed jug.

We had this for lunch today!

 * Prudie and Judd are Ross Poldark’s old retainers who have let **Nampara–the family “seat”–go to wrack and ruin, while Ross is away soldiering in vain to save the “American Colonies” for the King.
Prudie’d do well, cooking this to get back into Ross’ good books!

Tonight we’ll be raising a glass to Aidan, Eleanor

and the whole wonderful cast!

Go well and bon appetit, mes braves!


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We are in Washington DC and it’s snowing.


It makes a pretty picture but gives us pause about driving to see our friends Ann and Ray on Chesapeake Bay later this afternoon.

Not a major problem because our generous hosts Irv and Iris are happy to have us stay over an extra night.

Which gives me time to post the intro to the Chicken section in Healthy Eating for Life (now available on Amazon.com by the way).

It describes a way of roasting a chicken which was new to me. It was Irv who tipped me the wink!

He even demonstrated his method last Friday.


Our friend Irv Molotsky in Washington  put me onto a wonderfully carefree way to roast a chicken, developed by America’s Test Kitchen. Simple and hands-off—well the chicken needs a hand getting into the oven, but that’s about it!

Wash a medium size chicken and pat it dry. Brush it with olive oil and season it well with sea salt and black pepper. Stuff a couple of garlic cloves, a sprig of rosemary and half a lemon in the cavity. Put a roasting tray in the oven. Heat the oven to 230c/450f—yes, you are heating the tray.

Take the tray out, wearing a strong pair of oven gloves, put the chicken in it and pop the tray back in the oven for thirty minutes.

Then, WITHOUT OPENING THE OVEN, turn off the heat and leave the chicken for a second thirty minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven and the pan.

While the bird takes a well-earned rest, covered with foil, for twenty minutes, make a little gravy. Lift all but a spoonful of fat out of the pan and ease the remaining good bits, including the squeezed garlic cloves, into a sauce with half a wine glass of white wine or water. Gently heat this, stirring to amalgamate the gravy.

Hey Presto!

Irv’s Carefree Roast Chicken!


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Our friend Irv in Washington D.C. put me onto this wonderfully care-free way to roast a chicken developed by America’s Test Kitchen TV programme.

It’s simple and hands-off (well, the chicken needs a hand getting into the oven but that’s about it!).


1 average chicken–washed and dried

olive oil

sprigs of rosemary and thyme (if they are at hand or just one of them)

2 or 3 garlic cloves–unpeeled

1/2 (half) a lemon

salt and pepper

white wine for deglazing (scraping up the good bits!) and making the gravy

  • Choose a pan that will hold the chicken easily.
  • Turn the oven on to 450F/230C (Hot!)
  • Put the empty pan in the oven–yes, empty–no oil, nothing!
  • Dribble olive oil over the bird and using your clean hands or a brush, coat the chicken in olive oil.
  • Season the chicken well with salt and black pepper.


  • Stuff the cavity with the lemon, garlic and herbs.
  • When the oven has reached its target heat, quickly take out the pan wearing oven gloves, pop the chicken on it and put the pan straight back in the oven.
  • Roast the chicken for 30 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat but DON’T open the oven door!
  • Let the bird sit cosily in the oven for a further 30 minutes–it won’t complain.Then take the pan out of the oven and cover the chicken with foil and let it settle/rest for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and transfer the chicken to a warmed serving platter.


  • Carefully spoon out excess fat in the pan–leaving the good gravy making juices behind.
  • Gingerly upend the chicken and let the remaining juices inside fall back into the cooking pan.
  • Deglaze the pan with the white wine on a lowish heat–stirring as the alcohol evaporates.
  • Pour this gravy into a heated gravy boat or jug.

And there you have it–Irv’s simple carefree way to roast a chicken.
Ready for carving…

IMG_4997_2and eating!


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Our friend Julie put me onto this recipe–which originated from Jocelyn Dimbleby.

slices of peeled sweet potato roasted with the chicken for its last half hour in the oven.

The marinade has the spices turmeric and cumin whose anti-inflammatory and antioxident qualities are a plus for diabetics.

The smell wafts through the kitchen and whets the appetite.

Marinade the bird for a few hours in the fridge and roast it for an hour and a quarter.

for the marinade

Juice of a large lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves of garlic–crushed

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons cumin powder

1 free range/organic chicken (weighing about 1.4k/3lb)

For the sauce

glass of white wine

  • Mix the marinade ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Put the chicken in a large bowl and pour/brush/smooth over the marinade.
  • Turn the bird in the marinade.
  • Leave for a few hours–covered–in the fridge.

not pretty but effective!

Heat the oven to 180C/350F

  • Sprinkle some salt over the bird.
  • Place it, breast down, in a large roasting pan.
  • Pour any marinade remaining in the bowl over the chicken.
  • Add a further tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Place in the middle of the oven.
  • Roast for 3/4 of an hour–basting it from time to time with the juices.
  • Turn the bird over for the remaining half hour.
  • Let the chicken rest while you make a sauce from the juices.

  • Tip the pan and spoon out all but a tablespoon of the fat.
  • Add a glass of white wine and stir–dissolving the “bits” into a sauce over a low heat.
  • A garlicky yogurt sauce goes well with it.

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