Pot-roast chicken with potatoes, bacon, garlic and thyme

Just watch the family's noses when you remove the lid at table, says Simon Hopkinson: 'this is as fine a one-pot dish that I know.'
Pot-roast chicken with potatoes, bacon, garlic and thyme
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 50 g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 free-range chicken, about 1.5kg dressed weight, with giblets if possible
  • 130 g pancetta, or other bacon, cubed
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 2-3 generous splashes vermouth
  • 1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks, then washed
  • 5-6 sprigs thyme
  • 300 ml chicken stock


1. Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.

2. Using a deep-lidded cast-iron pot, melt the butter with the olive oil. Season the chicken all over and inside and then slowly brown all its surfaces in the fats, turning the bird over and around, for about 15 minutes. Remove to a plate.

3. Add the pancetta and garlic to the pot. Allow both to sizzle and gild slightly and then pour in the vermouth, which will froth and splutter. Introduce the potatoes now and turn them through this fatty residue with a spoon until well coated.

4. Stir in the thyme sprigs and stock and return the chicken to the pot, burying it deep amongst the potatoes. Bring the whole affair up to a bubbling simmer over a low light.

5. Put on the lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1-1½ hours, certainly until the potatoes are very tender indeed; the chicken itself will also be well cooked, but that is how it is meant to be in this particular instance.

6. Serve directly from the pot at table, carefully lifting the chicken onto a hot serving dish for jointing up. Spoon some of the potatoes together with copious amounts of juices around each serving.

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