How to cook the perfect Sunday roast

I would say that the quintessential British meal is a Sunday Roast. We have one almost every week at home, and it’s always a treat. An added bonus is that it makes the house smell like heaven, all day long! These instructions will result in a roast chicken, roasted potatoes, honey roasted carrots and parsnips, peas, bread sauce, and gravy. It looks very complicated, but it really isn’t, I promise. The two most important aspects are timing and preparation. If you get those things down, you’re covered, and you will end up with a glorious roast lunch.

Ingredients (quantities will depend on how many servings you require):

  • 1 large chicken
  • Butter
  • 1 large white onion
  • Cloves
  • Bay leaves
  • Black peppercorns
  • Milk
  • Maris Piper/roasting potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Runny honey
  • Vegetable oil
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Frozen peas
  • Flour

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Place the chicken on a baking tray with fairly high sides and smother it with butter (about 1-2 tbsp). Season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Pop it in the oven and check the time (it will usually tell you on the packet how long to cook the chicken for).
  4. Peel and cut a large white onion in half and stick about 8 cloves in each half. Place in a saucepan along with 2 bay leaves, 8 peppercorns, and a decent pinch of salt. Pour in 570ml milk. On medium heat, bring the milk to up to simmer, then remove from the heat, put a lid on, and leave to infuse.

5. Peel the potatoes and cut into halves or quarters, so they’re all the same size. Place in a large pan and fill with cold water, just enough to cover the potatoes. Boil for 15-20 mins, drain, and leave in the pan with the lid on.

6. Peel some carrots and parsnips and cut them into evenly sized sticks. Place in a large bowl and drizzle over 2-3tbsp of runny honey. Toss with a large metal spoon so that all of the sticks are lightly covered.

7. When the chicken has 1 hour of cooking time left, drizzle a decent amount of oil on a baking tray and put in the oven for 8-10 mins to get really hot.

8. Place the potatoes on a baking tray, with a tiny bit more oil on each potato, and then put them in the oven.

9. Take the chicken out of the oven and baste (tip the tray so that the fat and juices run into the corner, and then pour it over the chicken with a spoon or baster – repeat for a minute or two). Put the chicken back in the oven.

10. Drizzle another baking tray with oil and then put the carrots and parsnips on it. When the chicken has 30 mins of cooking time left, put them in the oven. You may have to play oven tetris at this point, but it does all fit! Put the chicken right at the bottom (not even on a rack) and then the veggies above.

11. Baste the chicken again (see step 9).

12. Remove the onion, bay leaves, and peppercorns with a slotted spoon from the milk mixture and return the milk to a low-moderate heat. Add 110g breadcrumbs and stir with a wooden spoon. Add about 25g butter and stir in. Keep stirring regularly until it’s time to serve it.

13. Put some peas on to boil (but don’t drain the water down the sink!)

14. When the chicken has had the specified amount of cooking time, take it out of the oven. Insert a skewer into the thickest part of the meat (either breast or leg). Remove the skewer and then press the meat – if the juices run out clear, it’s cooked. Place on another plate or tray and cover with foil.

15. Tip the chicken pan, so that the fat and juices run to the corner. Remove as much of the fat as possible with a spoon without removing any of the juices (the fat will settle on top of the juices). Add 1 tbsp flour and whisk into the juices with the pan over the hob on a medium heat, until you get a paste and all the fat is soaked up (you may need more flour). Slowly add the water from the peas and whisk in gradually, until gravy has thickened and you get the desired amount.

16. Remove everything from the oven and serve immediately.