Empire roast chicken

Jamie says: "Ask any British person what their two favourite meals are and I reckon most people would say their mums roast chicken, and a curry. Well, welcome to Empire roast chicken, a combination of both of those things. Your friends and family are going to love it. I love it. You will love it."
By Jamie Oliver
Empire roast chicken
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus marinating overnight (optional)
  • Effort: medium


For the chicken and marinade

  • 1.4 kg free range chicken
  • 1 heaped tbsp finely grated garlic
  • 1 heaped tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 heaped tbsp finely grated red chilli
  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 1 heaped tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp garam masala
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 2 heaped tsp natural yogurt
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 level tsp sea salt

For the gravy

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 small red onions, peeled
  • 10 cloves
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 level tbsp plain flour
  • 500 ml organic chicken stock
  • natural yogurt, to serve (optional)

For the Bombay-style potatoes

  • 800 g new potatoes
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 or 3 tbsp olive oil
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 heaped tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 heaped tsp garam masala
  • 1 heaped tsp turmeric
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander


In Jamie's words:

1. Slash the chickens legs a few times right down to the bone. Get a roasting tray slightly bigger than the chicken, then add all of the marinade ingredients and mix together well. Put on a pair of clean rubber gloves, then really massage those flavours over and inside the chicken so its smeared everywhere. Dont be shy! Ideally marinate overnight in the fridge.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6 and organise your shelves so the roasting tray can sit right at the bottom, the chicken can sit directly above it, right on the bars of the shelf, and the potatoes can go at the top.

3. Halve any larger potatoes, then parboil them in a large pan of salted boiling water with a whole lemon for about
15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Drain the potatoes then let them steam dry. Stab the lemon a few times with a sharp knife and put it right into the chickens cavity. Move the chicken to a plate.

4. Roughly chop the onions and add to the roasting tray along with the cinnamon stick, cloves, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, then whisk in the flour. Pour in the stock or water, then place this right at the bottom of the oven. Place the chicken straight on to the bars of the middle shelf, above the roasting tray. Cook for 1 hour 20 minutes.

5. Put another sturdy roasting tray over a medium heat and add the olive oil, a knob of butter, the mustard and cumin seeds, garam masala and turmeric work quickly because if the fat gets too hot the mustard seeds will pop everywhere. Halve a bulb of garlic and add it straight to the pan, with the sliced chilli and chopped tomatoes.

6. Add your drained potatoes to the tray, mix everything together, then season well.

7. Finely slice and scatter in the coriander stalks, and keep the leaves in a bowl of water for later. After the chicken has been in for 40 minutes, put the potatoes in.

8. Once the chicken is cooked, move it to a board and carefully peel off the dark charred bits to reveal perfect chicken underneath. Pass the gravy through a coarse
sieve into a pan, whisking any sticky goodness from the pan as you go. Bring to the boil and either cook and thicken or thin down with water to your preference. Put it into a serving bowl and drizzle over a little yoghurt. Get your potatoes out of the oven and put them into a serving bowl, then serve the chicken on a board next to the sizzling roasties and hot gravy. Sprinkle the reserved coriander leaves over everything and serve with any condiments you like. Life doesnt get much better.

© (2011) Jamie Oliver Enterprises. Photographer: David Loftus

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