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Recipe  •  8 November 2021


Classic roast chicken

Try your hand at this classic Christmas recipe from Rebecca Wilson.

Family Comforts is the much-anticipated new cookbook from Rebecca Wilson, the bestselling author, Instagram sensation and mum behind the phenomenally popular family food account @rebeccawilsonfood.

Classic roast chicken and gravy

Serve 4-8


  • 2–3 large carrots 
  • 1 yellow onion 
  • 1 bulb of garlic 
  • 1 small lemon 
  • 1.2–2kg whole chicken (preferably free-range)
  • 1 tbsp garlic-infused oil
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 low-salt chicken stock cube
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the gravy:

  • 250–300ml (9–10½ fl  oz) low-salt chicken stock*
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce* (optional)
  • 1 tbsp low-salt soy sauce*
  • 1 heaped tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) 


Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan (200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6) and find a roasting tin big enough to fit your chicken with lots of wiggle room, and with sides at least 5cm (2in) deep.

Wash the carrots and place them in the roasting tin. Halve the onion (no need to peel) and nestle it between the carrots. Halve the garlic through it’s equator, slicing through all of the cloves, and squeeze one half between the veg in the centre of the tray. Do the same with the lemon, placing one half in the centre of the tray too.

Make a note of the weight of your chicken, then remove the strings from the chicken and place the remaining lemon and garlic halves inside its cavity. Place the whole bird on top of all the veg, breast-side up –– the veg ‘trivet’ will help the air circulate, cooking the meat evenly, and will also help make some delicious gravy.

Drizzle the garlic oil over the chicken skin and then sprinkle over the herbs, a little black pepper and the salt, if using. The salt is definitely not needed, but there is nothing better than crispy, salty chicken skin in my book. If you’re serving this to little ones, you can remove the skin from their portion before plating up.

Crumble the stock cube into a jug and add 200ml (7fl  oz) of boiling water. Stir to dissolve the stock cube, then pour it into the tray, ensuring you don’t make the chicken skin wet. Add more boiling water from the kettle until liquid covers all of the veg.

Place the tray in the centre of the preheated oven. Make sure nothing is cooking on the shelf above the chicken, although having items cooking underneath is okay. Calculate the cooking time, allowing 40 minutes per kg, plus another 20 minutes. Use a large spoon to baste the chicken once or twice while cooking, and if all the juices dry up, add more hot water from the kettle down the side of the tin. Once cooked, the skin should be very golden and crispy. To check it is cooked through, make a small cut into the deepest part of the breast – if the meat is stringy and white throughout, it is done. Remove the tin from the oven and carefully transfer the chicken to a warm dish to rest for 20–30 minutes. If you’re worried it will get cold, you can cover the dish with foil and then a tea towel too, however, do note the skin won’t be as crispy if you do this. 

Now you can make the gravy. Set a large sieve over a medium-sized saucepan and pour the entire contents of the roasting tin into the pan, allowing the sieve to catch all of the veg. 

Family Comforts Rebecca Wilson

100+ simple comfort food recipes for all the family that are suitable for babies from 6 months!

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