Roast Chicken and Gravy


1 whole chicken
olive oil
half an onion
5 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken stock


Preheat the oven to 450ºF and roast the chicken at this high temperature for the first 10 – 15 minutes and the last 10 – 15 minutes.  The rest of the time the chicken should be roasted at 375ºF. As a general rule, calculate a total cooking time of 20 minutes per pound of meat plus an additional 10 – 20 minutes.

Start preparing the chicken by thoroughly cleaning and rinsing it under a cold running tap. Patt dry with a kitchen towel. Place the chicken on a wire rack set in a shallow roasting pan and grease the skin of the chicken with either butter or olive oil. Then season the bird with salt, pepper and thyme. Place half and onion and some garlic into the body cavity and begin cooking.

Every 20 minutes while the chicken is cooking, remove the chicken from the oven and pour or brush the fat and juices that have accumulated in the roasting pan, over the bird. If you find that the chicken is browning too quickly during cooking, then loosely cover the breast of the bird with a large piece of aluminium foil until it is done.

Roast the chicken for the correct amount of time and then use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked. The temperature must read 180ºF (83ºC) for the chicken to be cooked all the way through. When properly cooked, remove the chicken from the oven and leave it to rest for 15 – 20 minutes on a carving board to allow the juices to settle.

To make the gravy, pour the juices and grease from the chicken into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and whisk in flour until it forms a thick paste. Add chicken stock and mix together. Turn down the heat and simmer on low for a few minutes, whisking continuously, until gravy thickens to desired consistency.

From Help with Cooking


Steak and Ale Pie


3 tbsp. plain flour
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper, freshly ground
675 g braising steak, lean, cut into pieces
3 tbsp. sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 medium carrots
115 g button mushrooms, halved
3/4 cup beef stock
3/4 cup brown ale
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. tomato purée
350 g puff pastry, ready-made
1 egg, beaten


Season the flour to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the beef in the flour, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the steak in batches over a high heat until browned on all sides. Transfer the steak to a large saucepan. Add the remaining oil to the frying pan and fry the onion over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots and mushrooms and cook for 3–4 minutes, or until beginning to brown, stirring frequently.

Transfer the onion and mushrooms to the saucepan along with the stock, ale, bay leaf, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato purée. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat and vegetables to the pie dish. Reserve 150 ml of the gravy and pour the rest over the meat mixture. Leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/8″ and 2″ larger all round than the dish. Cut a 3/4″ strip from around the pastry, brush the rim of the dish with water, and place the strip on the rim. Brush with water. Place the pastry over the dish and press the pastry edges together to seal; trim off the excess with a knife. Crimp the pastry edge. Use the pastry trimmings to decorate, if liked. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and make a hole in the middle for steam to escape. Place on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and dark golden. Serve immediately, with the reserved gravy served separately.

From Ocado Recipes