Sunday lunch has got to be one of my favourite times of the week.
My parents are big believers in the ritual of Sunday lunch and I don’t think they’ve missed the chance to cook up a stonkingly delicious roast lunch on a Sunday for about 25 years. My step father just cannot comprehend people who regard Sunday lunch in the same way as any other lunch in the week. He looks at them with a look that indicates he thinks they are martians but the look is also laced with genuine pity. Pity because quite simply, they are missing out. Because of my parents love of all things roast related, it means over the (erm…cough cough…considerable…cough) years they have honed their skills and have mastered and perfected the art of cooking the perfect Sunday lunch. So much so that all my siblings and I have been known to jump in the car and drive the 3 hour round trip just for a taste of my mums infamous buttered leeks or a spoonful of my step dads nectar-like gravy.
So it is therefore only natural that I too have learnt to adore and worship at the altar of the Sunday lunch. Whilst I don’t like to play favourites with my food, I do adore roast chicken. It’s just so versatile, comforting and delicious. I also love that you inevitably (though this is actually not a definite inevitability in my greedy house…) have left overs which you can gobble during the week, savouring the memory of the weekend.
This roasted chicken dish is really special and is the perfect twist to make Sunday lunch a little more Summer friendly. It so simple to make, but tastes incredible and if you close your eyes you can almost imagine you are on the set of Mamma Mia smooching Piers Brosnan..
- 1 medium sized free range chicken
- jar of black olives - pitted
- 3 x large lovely tomatoes
- generous bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 x lemon
- 1 x small red onion
- 6 x cloves garlic
- olive oil
- salt pepper
- Make sure you take your chicken out of the fridge an hour or so before you want to cook him, so that he has time to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- Pop the kettle on and then place the tomatoes in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Leave them for 30 seconds, then drain them and their skins should peel off beautifully easily.
- Roughly chop the tomatoes and pop them in a bowl.
- Drain the pitted black olives and add to the tomatoes.
- Peel the red onion and cut into wedges and then add this to the bowl.
- Add the zest from the lemon and then squeeze in half the juice of the lemon.
- Peel the garlic and throw the cloves into the bowl whole and add all of the chopped parsley, except for a tablespoons worth. Season really well and drizzle in a nice glut of olive oil. Mix it together really well.
- Now turn your attention to the chicken. Take the remaining half of the lemon and squeeze it into the cavity. Then tuck the lemon half right inside the chicken.
- Scoop in as much of the tomatoey mixture as will fit in there and then close up the hole with the other half of lemon.
- Season the chicken with a generous pinch of Maldon salt.
- Place the roast chicken breast down in a baking tray where he fits quite snugly (that is the opposite way to how you may be used to roasting a chicken).
- Spoon the rest of the tomato mixture into the baking tray - over the chicken and around. Drizzle with a another glut of olive oil and pop into the hot oven.
- Cook for 25 minutes and then turn the chicken over and cook for about another 35 minutes until he is cooked through. To test if he is done, stick a knife in the thickest part of the thigh and see if the juices run clear without any hint of pink.
- When it's done, remove from the oven and allow to rest for for 10 minutes. Then carve up and present in a lovely dish with all the tomato mixture spooned over it.
- We muched ours with sautéed cabbage with chestnuts and of course, perfect roast potatoes. But this would be equally delicious with a crunchy green salad to make the most amazing weekday supper.