Sunday, September 23, 2012

Roast Herby Lemony Chicken with Sticky Gnocchi

When I first met the man who became The Hubs over a decade and a half ago, he had a nickname bestowed on him by his charming friends.  He was known as Bobby.  Why?  Because his favourite food was chicken and King of The Hill was a huge hit at the time.  Fifteen years on and some things never change.  The Hubs still loves chicken nearly as much as he loves me and I know that if I say I'm roasting a chicken for Sunday dinner, then his eyes light up and he looks forward to coming home.  Hang on, he should always look forward to coming home!

I know that a recipe for roast chicken is nothing new and some circles believe that you should only ever publish original recipes, but I disagree.  Firstly, not everybody knows how to roast a chicken and secondly, this is my version, which is completely different to how my sister or my Mum would do it.  I always have herbs on my kitchen windowsill (the neighbours know I'm away on holiday when the pots are empty) and two of them are a staple for my chicken - thyme and rosemary.  I cut generous sprigs of each and stick them into the chicken cavity together with a small lemon and a head of garlic which I've peeled away most of the papery outer skin.  This perfumes the carcass and infuses the meat with the most delicate herby lemony flavour while the garlic adds a mellow note of sweetness.

When I roast my chicken, I place it on a rack which fits snugly inside my roasting tray and gives about an inch of space at the bottom to let the air circulate.  I add a packet of gnocchi to the bottom of the tray and they absorb all of the wonderful chicken juices, becoming crunchy, sticky and the perfect lazy roast potato alternative.  I'd also suggest trying to buy the best chicken you can afford because you'll notice a real difference in the taste

Roast Herby Lemony Chicken with Sticky Gnocchi

1.5kg Chicken
1 small Lemon
1 bulb of Garlic
1 small bunch of fresh Thyme
1 stalk of Rosemary
Salt and Pepper
400g Gnocchi

Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 6/190c and take out a large roasting tray.

Wipe the chicken with a sheet of kitchen paper to make sure it's as dry as possible.  Give the insides a bit of a wipe as well (go on, grit your teeth and get on with it...).  If the legs are held together with elastic, unwrap them and stick the garlic, lemon and herbs into the chicken's cavity, and retie the elastic around the legs.

Place the chicken into the roasting tray and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for approximately 90 minutes (45 minutes per kg and 20 minutes extra, so a 1.5kg chicken will take 67 minutes and 20 minutes extra).

After 60 minutes, by which point the smell will be making you salivate, sprinkle the gnocchi around the chicken.  There should be enough juices to stop them from sticking to the tin, but if not, add a slug of your favourite oil.  Give them a stir every 15 minutes to make sure they brown evenly.  When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest.  Return the gnocchi to the oven for another 15 minutes to finish cooking, while you carve the chicken.

Don't forget to add some veggies or salad to keep it healthy.


  1. Yum - looks great Aoife! Gnocchi is a great idea for a side. I also swear by the lemon, herbs and garlic in the chicken cavity. I also rub oil and sea salt on the skin, makes it incredibly crispy and delicious.

    1. Thanks Jean. I know I'm not doing anything original but there are fifty ways to roast a chicken and I like this one!