All About Food: Extraordinary roast chicken for summer

Helen Keown


Helen Keown

All About Food: Extraordinary roast chicken for summer

Pilaf rice is believed to have originated in ancient India

Welcome to all about food. With this amazing weather, I am using every meal time to get out to the garden to eat – food always tastes better outside! This roast chicken is no exception…enjoy!

Ask Gingergirl

Hello Gingergirl,

We love a traditional roast on Sunday’s but find the meat and two veg a little much in the warmer weather. Can you suggest a summer take on our much-loved roast?



Hello Claire,

I know exactly how you feel. With such busy weekdays, there are some weekend traditions I love for my own family – a lazy Saturday breakfast and a traditional Sunday lunch are top of my list.

As you mentioned however the summer makes us long for a lighter approach to the much-loved roast. A butterflied, bbq leg of lamb served with Patatas Bravas, (see my recipes section on, roast loin of pork with noodles, seared beef fillet with pesto or perhaps this mouth watering chicken with pilaf rice and, one of my favourites, salsa verde.

Roast Chicken with Pilaf Rice and Salsa Verde

(Serves 4)

A 3lb (1.5kg) organic or free-range chicken

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

1 lemon, cut into chunks

4 whole garlic cloves

Olive oil

For the Salsa Verde:

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

4 anchovies, optional

A small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

A small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

2 tbsp of red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon of sea salt

The juice of 1 lemon

100ml of olive oil

For the pilaf:

A knob of butter

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

The zest of a lemon

2 sprigs thyme

1 mug of basmati rice

1½ mugs of hot chicken stock (try to buy the best quality you can)

Heat the fan oven to 180ºc. Put the chicken in a roasting tray, tuck the lemon, thyme, and garlic cloves in and underneath the bird. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season. Roast for 20 minutes per pound plus a further 20 minutes until crisp and golden.

To make the pilaf, heat a large knob of butter in an ovenproof pan. Cook the onion and garlic until softened. Stir in the lemon, thyme and rice and cook for a minute then pour in the stock and stir well.

Cover with a lid or cover tightly with foil to keep in the moisture then transfer to the oven with the chicken for 20-25 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

To make the salsa verde: Finely chop all the ingredients that can be chopped. Put this mixture into a bowl and add the mustard and vinegar.

Slowly stir in the olive oil and balance the flavours with salt and black pepper.

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