Easy Roast Lunch


Book promotion, press releases and interviews  www.pennymelvillebrown.com has been at the core of my activities over the last week or so, so actual cooking on-line was rather a treat: Roast Lunch Baking Session 11th April: Roast Lunch Baking Session You Tube Video Link, Click here.

I chose chicken with roast potatoes and stuffing balls.   All the preparation is done the day before so there’s lots of time to relax with family and friends while the meal cooks.   I use large kitchen foil containers for the cooking which reduces the washing up too.   A probe thermometer is essential.  You can follow the process below along with the video.

Day before:


Dissolve 60 g salt in a little hot water in a large, lidded container that will go into the fridge.   I use a large ice-cream box.   Allow the salty liquid to cool.

  1. Remove all the elastic trussing from your fresh/de-frosted chicken.If possible, dislocate the joints to make carving easier.
  2. Mix 1 litre of cold water into the salty liquid, add the chicken, cover and place in the fridge for about 24 hours to brine.


Soften about 55g butter in a container

And knead in your flavourings such as tarragon and lemon zest/juice; rosemary; thyme; garlic etc.   Cover and store in the fridge.

Stuffing balls:

  1. Take a few handfuls of stuffing mix and add enough hot water to create a thickened mix.
  2. You could add a couple of handfuls of sausage meat and mix through.
  3. Form the stuffing into balls and place in a greased roasting tray.Cover and store in the fridge.


  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces, place in salted cold water in a pan.Bring to the boil and simmer for no more than a few minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes and shake vigorously in the pan.
  3. Place a generous amount of oil or goose fat in a roasting tray and pour in the potato pieces, ensuring all surfaces are coated.Cover and store in the fridge.


  1. Peel and cut into pieces, place in cold salted water then cover and store in the fridge.Prepare parsnips etc as for the potatoes.

On the day:

Calculate when you want to serve the meal, perhaps 1300.   You will need to start cooking 4-5 hours beforehand, when you make the first coffee of the day at 0800.

Chicken, butter and stuffing balls:

  1. Remove the chicken from the brine and drain.
  2. Ease the skin off the breast and push the butter under the skin.
  3. Spread the chicken in a roasting tray and place in the oven at its lowest setting.My gas oven has an S (slow cooker) setting which is lower than Gas 1 or 1/2.
  4. Remove the cover from the tray of stuffing balls and put in the oven on a lower shelf.
  5. After 3 to 3 and a half hours, check the chicken temperature.It needs to have reached over 70C in the thickest part of the thigh, without the thermometer touching the bone.
  6. When done, remove the chicken from the oven, cover with foil and then a kitchen towel to rest.Remove the stuffing balls at the same time.


  1. Increase the oven temperature to 230C, Gas 8 and place the uncovered tray of potatoes on a high shelf for 25 minutes.
  2. Turn the potatoes and return to the oven for a further 20-30 minutes until crisp and golden.


Cook while the potatoes are in the oven.


Remove the foil and towel coverings before returning the chicken to the top shelf for 5 minutes to brown the skin.

All ready to serve!

The standard size chicken will provide roast lunch for six and I’ll recover enough additional meat from the carcass to make chicken and mushroom pies for four.

Break up the carcass and sauté in a pan with chopped celery, onion, carrots etc (or roast all in the oven).   Cover the browned items with water and simmer for a couple of hours, adding herbs, a glass of wine, stockpots etc.

Strain the stock and thicken or reduce further to make a gravy that can be frozen, ready for your next roast and the pies.

Latest radio interviews:

Life and work (3rd interview in the last 30 minutes of the piece): RNIB Connect / Activating Enterprise Bank Holiday Special (audioboom.com)

My new book plus 3 Scandi-noir novels : https://audioboom.com/posts/8060317-spencer-leigh-laura-barnett-penny-melville-brown-and-the-bookshop-band


Recent cooking demos: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLL_ppOpyFXIFrmDbRpScTCT3gDVSlT0w6


The next free on-line demo is at 1030 on Monday 9 May and features a no-churn ice-cream and lemon curd.  Sign up at: https://zingy-spring-dessert-open-sight.eventbrite.co.uk






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