I usually cook a joint of meat or a chicken at the weekend so we have leftover meat and some stock to use during the week but, since we were away at the weekend, I’m cooking a mid-week chicken.

I love Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s deliciously buttery Herb Roast Chicken (the recipe I have in his fabulous book Meat is for a smaller bird than he uses here).  As it is mid-week (and I have eaten a lot of croissants lately) I’m thinking lower in fat and it needs integrated potato cooking to save some time.

The principle of the HFW recipe is great though, you can set the oven timer for 55 minutes (for a 1.5Kg bird) at 210C (fan) and put the bird in, breast side up, when the oven is at temperature.

I sprayed mine with olive oil, seasoned it and put some lemon, garlic and parsley in the cavity. A few new potatoes around the outside.  After 20 minutes I turned the oven down to 160C, added a glass of water (wine is even better) and turned the chicken over.

You can then go out for an hour to have your hair cut, do the school run, whatever, and come home to perfectly cooked chicken (the usual rule to check it is done applies of course) and potatoes.  You will notice from the photos though that you do have to be prepared to compromise on the crispy skin aspect of roast chicken…but you do get very succulent meat.

Leave the oven door ajar while you steam some vegetables and that’s dinner done plus enough meat left to make a soup, noodles or risotto.

The juices needed a little thickening after carving today so I added a small knob of butter and a teaspoon of cornflour mixed with cold water and cooked on the hob (in the roasting pan) for a couple of minutes.

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