Easy roast lunch

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.

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Whole chicken

60g salt

55g butter

A selection of fresh herbs (ie. tarragon, rosemary, thyme, garlic)

Zest from 1 lemon

Stuffing mix

Sausage meat

Potatoes for roasting

Oil or goose fat

Selection of vegetables


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.

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© 2024 - Penny Melville-Brown
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