Delicious Roast Chicken Dinner
A wonderful British and Irish tradition is that of the great British or Irish roast chicken Sunday dinner. This post will show you how to cook a wonderful roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings.
In fact, the tradition of a Sunday roast is found in many English speaking countries that used to be connected to the British Empire (and others). Many will say it is what made the (now past) Empire great (together with gin and tonic and tea of course!).
Traditional Sunday Roast
A Bisto roast chicken dinner is certainly one of the favourite variants of the Sunday roast. It is also a great alternative for a Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving dinner. Normally a large chicken will be a lot cheaper than a Turkey.
I have many recollections as a kid of us sitting around the table on a Sunday. We always had to wait for my late father to get back from his golf, so we could eat our traditional Sunday lunch together.
It is, of course, part of the original tradition that the man of the household carves the meat (this never stopped my Mum though).
This always reminds me of this funny Dutch advert from 1997, where, at the end, the kid whispers in Dutch ‘who is the man that always comes to cut the meat on Sundays?’! (not recognizing his own father as he is also away the entire week at work!)
When you are carving the chicken, make sure you have a good carving set. A sharp carving knife and a good carving fork are invaluable.
The Sunday dinner tradition was very strong in our household. My Mum was (and still is) a great cook and would always do us proud.
There are many variations to a Sunday roast, both with side dishes, as with the process, and I will discuss that a little bit in this post.
Family Sunday Lunch
At home, the roast meat was always lamb, chicken, pork, beef or whatever that week had been on offer. And the side dishes would be a combination of roast potatoes, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower cheese and other vegetables.
There was normally also some other strange English invention on the table. Things like bread sauce, mint sauce, Yorkshire Puddings or stuffing – all depending on the meat. All delicious of course, once you have got over the initial shock 😊.
We would scoff ourselves fully, a bit like at Christmas, and then relax on the couch and invariably fall asleep!
Competing Student’s Mum’s Sunday Lunches
All my friends at school and University also had a similar Sunday lunch tradition and it was interesting to see how it varied from house to house.
I studied at University in the North of England. There it seemed to be a challenge for all of my friend’s mothers to feed us all until we exploded when we visited for a weekend break from studying.
Some of my friend’s Mums really put on the most incredible spreads with the tabletop covered in different types of vegetables: boiled, fried, roasted, baked – everything was possible.
One weekend, I remember visiting a friend where there must have been about 15 different vegetable side dishes to go with the meat! I have never seen anything like it before or since.
We have some very happy memories of those days and the long-lasting friendships that I made at that time.
This was an important part of growing up and I remember thinking I would always like to make this a thing in my own house when I was older.
And these days, when all my family is together, which is unfortunately not very often, I love to get everyone around the table and give them a roast dinner. They all LOVE the chicken and my super crispy roast potatoes and gravy, and they fight over the chicken skin!
Dinner or lunch?
Whether you call it ‘dinner’ or ‘lunch’ depends a bit on where you are from in the UK. Northerners tend to call the meal in the middle of the day ‘dinner’.
Whereas down South this would be referred to as ‘lunch’ and ‘dinner’ would be the evening meal.
Where the cut-off point for this is I do not know. But suspect it must be around the Midlands somewhere.
In any case, I am originally a Southerner that studied up North, so am still a bit confused. Or bilingual you might say! I still call it a traditional Sunday dinner!
How long to cook a roast chicken?
The cooking time for a roast chicken is about 20 minutes per 450g weight of chicken plus an extra 20 minutes (depending a bit on the size of the chicken) at 190C.
This is a simple roast chicken recipe. In these pictures, it is served up with different side dishes: crispy roast potatoes, garlic carrots, roast chicken stuffing (different flavours), roasted stem broccoli, boiled sugar snaps, and honey roasted parsnips together with some lovely gravy using this Bisto gravy granules recipe.
Bisto Gravy Granules Recipe
The recipe for gravy is included in the recipe card below and is very simple. I use a combination of a chicken OXO cube, the juices from the chicken (after discarding the fat), the water from the parboiled potatoes, and some Bisto gravy granules. This gives a delicious thick chicken gravy that goes beautifully with the roast potatoes.
If you have the opportunity to chill the chicken juices for longer in the fridge, the fat will solidify and it easy to separate than just using a ladle. You can just spoon it out.
It will look a bit like this and the solidified yellow liquid on the top is the chicken fat. It is super delicious but alas not very healthy as it is pure saturated fat!
Sometimes when I am perfecting the gravy, I may add some cranberry sauce to sweeten it or some English mustard to add a bit of bite. It depends on my mood 😊.
But remember that a good tasty gravy is one of the most important parts of a roast chicken dinner. Essential for eating with the delicious crispy roast potatoes. Your kids will be fighting over them (if they are anything like mine!)
Anyhow, good luck making your first Sunday Roast. And remember, getting everything to the table hot at the same time is important. So timing is everything – plan your dishes well!
Good luck trying out some of these recipes. If you do, please let me know how you get on in the comments section below!
How to make a Sunday roast chicken dinner
And for using up any roast chicken leftovers:
And some other roast dinner ideas: