For now, here's a special post to mark the end of summer. This recipe offers two contradictions to the traditional Sunday roast: 1) that you can have a roast any night of the week, actually and 2) that a roast is strictly autumn/winter fare. In fact, a roast chicken is perfect any time of year and I think this recipe is an ideal way to make a meal of it as summer draws to a close. Plus, it's somewhat speedy enough to make on a weeknight if you get your affairs in order.
I quite often make roast potatoes on a weeknight; they're cheap, tasty and filling and they don't have to take as long as you might think if you follow my quick recipe using small new potatoes.
Pre-heat the oven to 220C and place a large baking tray in the middle shelf while it heats up. Halve the potatoes (I used about a kilogram here), place in a pan of boiling water and cook until you can easily pierce with a fork - about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and leave in the colander or pan to steam for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, put a few tablespoons of olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt into the hot baking tray and place back in the oven while the potatoes are drying off in the colander. When the oil is hot, transfer the potatoes to the baking tray and make sure there is enough space for them to spread out without touching (I transferred them to a smaller pan once cooked for serving in the photo above.) Cook for about half an hour, shaking occasionally until crisp and golden.
As this meal is meant to be quick enough to make on a weeknight, you can save time by cooking the chicken and the potatoes in the oven at the same time. If you are doing this, generously slather a whole, medium-sized chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in the oven alongside the potatoes. Immediately turn the oven down to 190C; this will let both the chicken skin and the potatoes crisp up without overcooking the chicken. A medium-sized chicken should take about 1hr30; as the potatoes only took 30 minutes, I served them slightly cool, which makes them almost pop in the mouth as the soft flesh pulls away from the crisp, chewy skin. If you want hot potatoes, you can put them in the oven when the chicken is nearly done, although they may not crisp up as much.
For the sides, anything goes! Homemade slaw is a go-to for quick, weeknight suppers as it makes loads and can be eaten for lunch or the flavours tweaked for dinner the following day.
This slaw contains a small sweetheart cabbage, a red onion, a large carrot, a handful of radishes and a generous helping of coriander. I use half to a tablespoon of mayonnaise for the whole bowl, loosened up a bit with the juice of a lime and dijon mustard for a little kick. I like to add sesame to the leftovers for an Asian twist to eat another day.
For the corn salad, I just microwaved a small bowl of sweetcorn and added a small, finely sliced green chilli, a few drops of tabasco and some shredded coriander.
Here's to the end of summer! Next time I see you, roast chicken, you'll be cosying up to giant roasties, honeyed carrots and parsnips and a whole lotta gravy!