Roast Chicken with Really Good Gravy
As I mentioned in the post on roast vegetables, I’d really enjoyed watching Oliver’s Twist 2
, which I got from Netflix. (Note: link is an affiliate link to Amazon.)
Roast chicken is good. And even if you do nothing more than rub a little olive oil or butter, sprinkle some salt and pepper, maybe a few herbs, and stick half a lemon and a spring of rosemary inside, it will come out fantastic! I prefer to cook long rather than fast, as I learned from More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen. Oliver has you start the oven at 450 then drop it down to 400 as soon as you add the chicken. This came out great, but I do think I still prefer the longer cooking at a lower temperature (like 325 for a couple of hours), but you don’t always have 2 hours to cook a chicken!
Preheat the oven to 450.
First, make a “trivet” of vegetables for the chicken to sit on. (Alternately, you can use a rack to lift it off the pan a bit.) Chop up and put in the bottom of the pan:
- 2 carrots
- 2 onions
- 2 stalks of celery
- a handful of garlic cloves
You don’t need to peel the vegetables. You won’t be eating them. Just scrub them a bit. Create a bed for the chicken in the center of the pan.
I used the rub he had on the video. I used my mortal and pestle to grind up:
- zest from a lemon
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- a few sprigs of rosemary (just the leaves!)
- olive oil
Grind this all up. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, just mince it all up fine and then mix with the olive oil. Then rub it all the outside of the chicken. Pop in the oven and reduce the heat to 400.
If you’re doing the roast vegetables, which are to die for!, you want the chicken in about a half an hour longer than the vegetables. So you can prep the chicken and pop it in the oven, the parboil the vegetables and get them ready. When I was read to add the vegetables to the oven, I pulled the chicken out and added the “chuffed” potatoes to the pan at the edges and stirred a bit to coat with the chicken juices.
When the chicken is done (you can use a thermometer or wiggle the leg, etc, but really, a little extra cooking time has never damaged a chicken in my mind), you can make the gravy. Lift the chicken up and let all the juices drain into the roasting pan, then put the chicken on a plate or cutting board and cover with foil while you make the gravy.
Take the potatoes out if you cooked them in the same pan. Leave the chopped carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Put the roasting pan on the stove and heat over medium heat, stirring. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and smash up all the vegetables with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle a good spoonful or two of flour and stir and cook a few minutes.
Add a glassful of red or white wine, port or sherry and stir and cook a few minutes. Then add a quart of water or chicken broth and stir, pressing down on the vegetables periodically and scraping up all the good bits from the bottom of the pan. (Making gravy is a great way to clean a pan!) Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring now and then, until it’s as thick as you like. Taste and add salt and pepper if you’d like.