What a triumph this is. Just when I was feeling a bit indifferent to Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain along comes this absolute belter. Jamie introduces this by saying most people when asked about their favourite foods will mention roast chicken and curries, and this utterly unites the heart of both of these.
With blackened, tangy skin the chicken comes out juicy and tickling on the tongue, although be warned it will make a mess of your oven as it sits on the rack.
Being the kind of blog this is though, I have to talk about the roast potatoes. They are a triumph. I used to get “spicy spuds” from a dubious takeaway near me and these are very, very close to those – crispy, spicy and fluffy.
I’ve made a few changes to the spices in the potatoes based on what I had, and used floury over new pots to get them really crispy. I’ve served mine with a refreshing salad.
I cannot recommend this recipe enough.
Empire chicken, Bombay roasties, Indian gravy and refreshing salad (serves 4):
For the chicken and marinade
1.4kg free-range chicken
1 heaped tablespoon each finely grated garlic, fresh ginger and fresh red chilli
1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée
1 heaped teaspoon each of ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala and ground cumin
2 heaped teaspoons natural yoghurt
2 level teaspoons sea salt
For the gravy
1 stick of cinnamon
2 small red onions, peeled
3 tablespoons each of white wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce
3 level tablespoons plain flour
500ml chicken stock
For the Bombay-style potatoes
800g new potatoes
sea salt and ground pepper
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
a knob of butter
1 heaped teaspoon each of nigella seeds, ground coriander, garam masala, fenugreek and turmeric
1 bulb of garlic
Pinch of chilli flakes
For the salad
½ a cucumber, peeled
3 carrots, peeled
1 red onion, peeled
- Slash the chicken’s legs a few times right down to the bone. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and smear all over the chicken. Leave to marinate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and organize your shelves so the roasting tray can sit right at the bottom, the chicken can sit directly above it, right on the bars of the shelf, and the potatoes can go at the top.
- Cut the potatoes into golf-ball size pieces then parboil them in a large pan of salted boiling water with a whole lemon for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Drain the potatoes then let them steam dry. Stab the lemon a few times with a sharp knife and put it right into the chicken’s cavity.
- Roughly chop the onions and add to a roasting tray along with the cinnamon stick, cloves, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, then whisk in the flour. Pour in the stock or water, then place this right at the bottom of the oven. Place the chicken straight on to the bars of the middle shelf, above the roasting tray. Cook for 1 hour 20 minutes.
- Put a roasting tray in the oven for five minutes to get hot. Add the olive oil, butter, the spices, halve a bulb of garlic and add it straight to the pan. Add your drained potatoes to the tray, mix everything together, then season well. After the chicken has been in for 40 minutes, put the potatoes in.
- Once the chicken is cooked, move it to a board to rest. Pass the gravy through a coarse sieve into a pan, whisking any sticky goodness from the pan as you go. Bring to the boil and either cook and thicken or thin down with water to your preference (I had to add some boiling water to deglaze the surface and make a sauce out of it.
- For the salad, use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips of the carrot and cucumber. Then finely slice the onion and add this to it. Add a pinch each of salt and sugar, then squeeze over the lemon and toss to combine. Leave for 15 minutes while everything else finishes off.
- Get your potatoes out of the oven and put them into a serving bowl, then serve the chicken on a board next to the sizzling roasties and hot gravy.