Roast Chicken with Herbs

Friday 4 September 2020

Roast Chicken with Herbs

I think if there is no dish on earth more beautiful or delicious than a perfectly roasted chicken.  It is one of my absolute favourite things to cook and to eat. I am always on the lookout for a new way to prepared it. 

You cannot have too many recipes or ways of roasting chicken in my opinion. This recipe I am sharing with you today is a really good one and comes from the Katie Stewart Cookbook which was published in 1983. 

Roast Chicken with Herbs

Its actually a really excellent cookbook. Its filled to overflowing with recipes selected by Katie Stewart that are her favourites, for every day meals and for entertaining.I don't think you can really go wrong with a book that contains someone's favourite recipes, do you?

Katie Stewart is actually no longer alive. She passed away in 2013 at the age of 78.  During the 1960's and 1970's  her cookery columns in The Times made her a household name here in the UK. 

Her wherewithal equipped the middle classes with all that they needed to be able to entertain successfully by providing them with delicious foolproof recipes.  And she did it all without a cookery show, a blog, or much else in the way of bells and whistles.

Roast Chicken with Herbs

I first became aware of her when I worked at the Manor down South in Kent. My boss had several of her cookery books.  I liked them so much that I purchased several for myself. They are filled with good solid recipes, cookery tips and ideas. 

This roast chicken is a bit different than most roast chicken recipes you might see.  The chicken actually begins cooking with one breast side down in the roasting tin, and then is flipped over to the other side and finishes with being roasted right side up. 

The end result is a succulent, perfectly tender and moist roast chicken that you can be proud to serve to anyone. 

Roast Chicken with Herbs

I would suggest that you begin with a good roasting chicken.  The last few times I have bought a free range whole chicken from The Thoughtful Producer. I purchased them through Ocado the online grocery store. 

 The Thoughtful Producer specialises in free range and forage fed chickens. I was so impressed with the first one I bought that I didn't hesitate to get another one. 

They are very well packaged, and come wrapped with a sturdy bag on the outside (not flimsy cling film you can punch your fingers through. Inside they are wrapped in paper and then inside that is a chicken in a cooking bag. 

You can either cook the chicken in the bag, (rosemary is included to insert in the cavity) or outside in a roasting tin. It also has a pop up timer to tell you when the chicken is done and comes with a bag of giblets to aid in making your gravy.

Aside from starting with a really good chicken, you will need to make an herb butter which is insertd into the cavity of the bird. I used finely chopped fresh chives, parsley and thyme, along with a quantity of freshly grated lemon zest and some seasoning.

TOP TIP: If your butter is hard, but it into smaller bits and pop into a bowl.  Rinse out  another  bowl larger enough to cover the intitial  bowl with some boiling water and then invert it over the bowl of butter.  You will find that within one or two minutes you have perfectly softened butter.

Pink Fir Apple Potatoes

Have you ever seen this kind of potatoes before?  They are called Pink Fir Apple Potatoes.  My friend Tina's husband Tony grew some this year.  They are a fingerling variety of waxy potato that is really good for making salads with.

They really are most unusual looking, covered with little nobbly bits. They are also excellent roasted. I washed them really well, dried them and then cut them into halves lengthwise.

I then tossed them in a baking dish along with 1 TBS of good olive oil and 1 TBS of melted butter, along with the juice from the lemon I had zested to use in the herb butter for the chicken.  Waste not want not.

Along with a bit of salt, pepper and a touch of garlic, they roasted beautifully in the oven along with the chicken and were done around the same time as it was finished.  Beautifully caramelised and flavourful. 

They went perfectly with our roast chicken dinner! Just look at how juicy, golden brown and caramel tinted they turned out. Their flavour and texture was amazing.

Roast Chicken with Herbs

Just look at how tender and moist that chicken is.  I served it with a gravy that I made from the pan juices.  Making a tasty gravy is very easy to do.

You begin by pouring all of the pan juices into a measuring cup. There will be a layer of fat on the top. Spoon off 2 TBS of the fat into a saucepan and discard the remaining fat as best as you can, leaving only the chicken juices.

Heat the fat in the saucepan and whisk in 2 TBS of all pupose/plain flour until smooth. Let it cook for several minutes to cook out the flour taste.

Roast Chicken with Herbs

Add chicken stock or water to the remaining pan juices in the measuring cup to bring it up to 480ml or two cups of liquid.  You want to whisk this slowly into the fat and flour roux in the saucepan.

Continue to cook it, whisking continuously until the  mixture comes to the boil and thickens nicely. You should have a really beautiful tasting gravy there.

You can adjust the seasoning as you wish.  This will be perfect spooned over your roasted chicken and vegetables.  You cannot get a nicer tasting gravy.

Roast Chicken with Herbs

What is your favourite part of the chicken to eat?  Todd always enjoys the legs, whereas I like the breast meat. I also am awfully fond of those two little nuggets you will find on the bottom of the chicken.

They are like little oyters of dark and delicious meat. Having absorbed all of the chicken juices and goodness throughout the cook time. They are quite delectable

It is the same with any bird, even turkey. I call them the cooks treat! They are reserved for me. Little nuggets of deliciousness.

Roast Chicken with Herbs

You can serve whatever vegetables you want to serve with your roast dinner.  Today I served the roasted potatoes, some mashed potatoes, baby peas, carrots and mashed swede (turnips/rutabaga).

Normally I would also serve stuffing with a roast dinner like this, but I was too tired today to make any stuffing. If you are looking for a really tasty stuffing recipe I highly recommend my Sage and Onion Stuffing which you will find here. 

Normally when I make it I make extra and freeze it, ready to pull out for occasions such as today. Unfortunately I had alread used all which I had frozen.

I think the next day I feel really energetic I will make a big batch and then freeze it in two cup containers, ready to haul out and use when I want some stuffing. 

That is my favourite stuffing. I could eat it with a spoon.  Its almost dangerous for me to have in the refrigerator because I find myself picking at the leftovers constantly. 

When a stuffing tastes just as good cold as it does hot, you know you have a winner there!

All in all this was a most delicious dinner. My husband felt really spoiled. He loves a good roast dinner.  I do too actually. 

Yes, they are a lot of work to pull together, but think of how very delicious all the leftovers are going to be. In sandwiches, as soup, in a casserole  . . .  

I never mind paying a premium for a good roasting chicken. I always know I will get at least three meals from a good sized bird, which makes for a very delicious economy indeed.

Roast Chicken with Herbs

Roast Chicken with Herbs
Yield: 4
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 10 Mincook time: 1 Hourinactive time: 10 Mintotal time: 1 H & 20 M
Moist, delicious and filled with lovely flavours from the inside out. dapted from Katie Stewart's Cookbook.


  • 1 3 lb. (1.4 kg) oven-ready chicken
  • 3 ounces (75g) butter, divided
  • 1 TBS finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 TBS freshly chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped fresh thyme
  • finely grated lemon zest to taste
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Have a deep roasting tin ready to go. Butter it well.
  2. Cream 2 ounces (1/4 cup/60g) butter together with the chopped herbs, lemon rind, salt, and papper. Spoon into the cavity of the chicken.
  3. Place the chicken,  resting with one breast down, into the roasting tin. Spread the exposed surface of the chicken with the remaing butter and season lightly. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and flip it over to the other side, baste with the pan juices, return to the oven, and roast for a further 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and turn the chicken upright.  Baste again. Return to the oven and roast for a further 20 minutes, for 60 minutes in total.
  6. Remove from the oven, let rest for 10 minutes. Spoon any juices from the cavity over top.  Carve and serve.
  7. A delicious gravy can be made from the pan juices.
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Roast Chicken with Herbs

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  1. Hi Marie,
    Thank you- this meal looks so delicious! When the cool fall weather begins I will be making this.

    1. Thanks Terri! I really hope you enjoy it! We are already enjoying cooler autumn weather here and its great! xoxo

  2. Marie - as always a great recipe!! Thank you. I’m going to try this recipe this weekend. What a treat! Take care

    1. Thanks so much! I really hope you enjoy it! Here's hoping! xoxo


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