Nigel Slater Roast Chicken – With A Twist

Nigel Slater is quite well known around England. We recently covered a recipe of his (lemon chicken), and it was so good that we felt we had to write up another article of his with some slight improvements. The lemon chicken recipe turned out fantastic, and this one is no different.

Making use of only a few simple ingredients, Nigel Slater roast chicken makes the best out of simplicity itself.

As per usual, you can expect exactly zero filler or faff in this recipe – just straightforward, honest recipes and ingredients. We’ll begin with Nigel’s recipe, and move on to improvements shortly after that.

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Nigel Slater Roast Chicken – Recipe and Ingredients

First things first – what will you need to cook this bird? Be sure to have everything prepared beforehand (though admittedly this recipe requires a surprisingly minimal amount of work). To roast this chicken, you’ll obviously need a whole chicken. After that, it’s just a few basics and you’re off!

You want:

  • A small free-range roasting chicken
  • 75 mL olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • a large lemon
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • salt and fresh black pepper

Now, we move on to cooking!

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The Recipe

  1. Preheat your oven to 220 C if you have a convection (fan) oven, 200 C if it’s gas.
  2. Cut your chicken in half down the backbone using your best (and sharpest) knife. Nigel says specifically to use a large chef knife, but that really doesn’t matter. Flatten the chicken as much as possible.
  3. Combine your olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice, alaong with the thyme, black pepper, and salt.
    1. Note: your bowl will be used to put this on/in the chicken, so it needs to be big enough to accomodate that.
  4. Turn the chicken over in the mixture, leaving it for an hour (if you can – this just helps build flavour).
  5. Place the chicken in a roasting tin, skin up. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the skin is golden and the largest part of meat has reached at least 73 C internal temperature.
  6. Enjoy.

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The Twist

Now a roast chicken is delicious, but it’s not really a meal. At least, not for more than one hungry person. You need sides, and the bird needs a bit more oomph. It’s delicious as-is, but I think you’ll understand if you try to make this without the following twist.

Now, to make this, you’ll need:

  • All of the above ingredients, plus…
  • 150-250 mL rendered duck or bacon fat
    • This is fantastic with duck as a confit, but it’s really not a common thing to have around. If you want to make this and don’t have access to duck fat, bacon fat works as well. Cook and render bacon as you normally would, reserving the fat. It can be kept, just like butter, and then thrown into a pan when needed. You could even triple the fat amount and fully confit everything in a pan – but that’s really, really expensive (though delicious)
  • 6 red potatoes
  • 2 kg mire poix
    • Equal parts carrot, celery, and white onion
  • 1 bottle of nice white wine
    • A light wheat beer or nice crisp, dry (alcoholic) apple cider also works.
  • 100 mL chicken stock
  • 1 preserved lemon, flesh removed, rind finely sliced (recipe found here) for garnish
  • 6 sprigs rosemary
  • Optional – 1 tsp flour

Now, onto the cooking!

Read Next: Nigel Slater Beef Bourguignon (With A Twist).

The Recipe

  1. Prepare the bird as you did before.
  2. Boil a pot of salted water. Parcook your potatoes until tender, but not fully cooked.
  3. Remove the bird when it’s ready, reserving in a warm pan in the oven. Transfer the drippings and herbs/garlic to a bowl.
  4. In a large, highwalled saucepan or pot, put your rendered fat and mire poix, sauteeing 1-2 mintues. Add your potatoes, everything from the chicken pan (minus the bird), and rosemary.
    1. This can be done simulataneously to cooking the bird. Simply drain the pan immediately into your veggie pan/pot.
  5. Add your chicken stock and enough wine, cider, or beer to submerge all veggies. Simmer until they’re cooked.
  6. Put your veggies and chicken together in a warm pan.
  7. Simmer liquid for 5-10 more minutes, or until it’s reduced to a consistency you like. Add flour and cook until raw flour smell has dissipated if you want a thicker sauce.
  8. Remove and carve chicken, serving alongside veggies and crusty bread. Give a small cup of the remaining sauce for dipping. Garnish with preserved lemon peel, fresh thyme, and rosemary.
  9. Enjoy as your family eats in silence – yes, it’s that good.

And that’s about it, folks! A roast bird is quite easy, no matter how you cut it. Nigel Slater’s roast chicken holds up very well, but making this sauce and side veggies helps make a meal out of it that has one cohesive flavour. And that sauce (if there’s any left) can be further reduced into a form of demi-glace for future meals.

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Final Thoughts

This recipe for Nigel Slater roast chicken is one of my favourites. When made with a demi-glace of the reduced sauce from the last time I made it, it’s even better. You can mess around with the type of alcohol you use, and even try new spice and veggie mixes if you’re feeling bold. If you liked that recipe, be sure to check out the other linked recipe, as well as a Paul Hollywood carrot cake for dessert, if you’re so inclined. It is delicious as-is, and with the special ricotta frosting that we’ve got as a nice little twist, it’ll blow the mind of any guest you have over.

This chicken, in combination with a perfect carrot cake and a nice glass of wine, is just about the perfect night. So whether you’re planning a special date night, or meeting the parents, or you just like great food, we’ve got you covered. Now get cooking!