Roast Chicken with Chickpea Stuffing and Roast Onion and Thyme Gravy

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Who’s your favourite celebrity chef? Gordon, Jamie, Hugh, Nigel, Nigella? They all have their own idiosyncrasies, their particular TV personas and style of cooking which make them the stars they are. But, in the end, I think they should be judged on how well their written recipes work for the amateur cook, however flash and tasteful the production values of their cookbooks. I am of the opinion that Gordon Ramsay is not all mouth and that his recipes work better than most of the others I have tried. I judge that simply on the success ratio of his dishes. Follow what he says carefully and I think you will find your dinner will turn out delightful. For this dish I have adapted his recipe for roast chicken with chickpea stuffing and big, green salad from his book Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Home Cooking with Nigel Slater’s recipe for making gravy for roast chicken from his book Real Food. I’ve added roast potatoes. It’s a close run thing between these two chefs and I probably prefer the more down to earth recipes of Nigel’s. Certainly his cookery writing is beyond compare.

Serves 4-6

Stuffing

1 x 400gms tin cooked chickpeas
2 red chillies, sliced
1 lemon, zested
3 thyme sprigs, leaves only
Olive oil

Chicken, Roast Onion & Thyme

I large free range chicken
Bunch fresh tarragon
150 gms butter, room temperature
2 heads garlic
50gms butter
1 med onion,sliced into 6-8 segments
3 bay leaves
6 sprigs bushy thyme
300 ml chicken stock

Potatoes
4-5 med potatoes, cut into small chunks and parboiled

Salad

I butter or soft leaved lettuce
1 lollo rosso lettuce
100gms baby spinach
1 ripe avocado

Dressing

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp runny honey
4-6 tbsp olive oil
A little salt and pepper

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Method

First, preheat the oven to 230C and make the stuffing
Put the chickpeas in a bowl and add the lemon zest, chillies, a dash of olive oil
When you stuff the chicken put the whole, zested lemon at the entrance of the chicken

Prepare/cooking the chicken

Mix butter with chopped tarragon and some salt and pepper and loosen the chicken skin, putting your fingers underneath and pushing in the tarragon butter. Work it over the crown of the chicken and under the drumstick and thighs without tearing the skin. If you can’t get it under the skin of the legs don’t worry.
Spoon the stuffing into the bird and seal the entrance with the lemon. Rub a little olive oil or butter over the chicken skin and season.
Put 50gms butter in a roasting tray and melt for 2 mins.
Remove from oven and add onion segments, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and the cut halves of garlic face down. Arrange onions and herbs around the garlic. Place the chicken on top of the mixture and roast for 20 mins before adding parboiled potatoes around the chicken. Turn the oven down to 200c and cook for about 1 1/4 hours, turning the potatoes halfway through, and removing when the chicken is tender and the juices run clear. Set chicken aside to rest, remove the garlic, and put the potatoes to keep warm in a hot oven.
Put the roasting tray over the hob on medium heat and add the chicken stock. Simmer for a while and add to a gravy boat or small saucepan.
Remove the chickpeas from the chicken and put in a large, warm bowl. Squeeze the garlic through a sieve into the chickpea mixture, and mash the entire contents with a potato masher. Add 1 tbsp of the salad dressing, mix and serve.

Salad

Tear the lettuce leaves and spinach, put in a salad bowl and add the avocado
Put the salad dressing ingredients in a bowl or jar, mix wetland dress the salad

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