Thanksgiving Roast Dinner

Lemon and rosemary roast chicken, roast potatoes, butternut squash, sage crunch, heritage carrots, charred roscoff onions, honey almond parsnips, hispi cabbage and gravy.

Ingredients: (4 portions)

For the chicken:
● 1 x 1.5kg chicken 
● 1 x lemon
● 1 x rosemary sprig
● Salt, pepper and a good glug of cooking oil

For the gravy:
● 1 x carrot
● 1 x onion
● 2 x sticks celery
● 2 x sprigs rosemary
● 3 x garlic cloves
● 2 tablespoons of flour

For the roast potatoes:

● 5 or 6 large potatoes (washed, peeled and cut into 6)
● 250ml x cooking oil
● 2 sprigs x rosemary
● 3 x garlic cloves
● Salt & pepper

For the butternut squash and sage crunch:
● 1 x butternut squash
● 5 x sage leafs (finely chopped) 
● 60g x bread crumbs
● Lemon zest
● 1 x garlic clove
● Dash of cooking oil
● Salt & pepper

For the carrots:
● 4 x heritage carrots 
● Dash of cooking oil
● 1 x tablespoon of butter
● 1 x sprig parsley (finely chopped)
● Salt & pepper to taste

For the honey almond parsnips:

● 3 x parsnips
● 1 x tablespoons of honey
● 20g x toasted almond flakes
● Dash of cooking oil
● Salt & pepper to taste


For the roscoff onions:
● 2 x roscoff onions
● Dash of cooking oil
● Small knob of butter
● Salt & pepper

For the hispi cabbage:
● ½ x hispi cabbage
● 1 x tablespoons of butter
● Salt & pepper to taste

Let's start with the roast potatoes because they take the longest! For the perfect roast potatoes, preheat the oven to 200° and add a suitable baking dish to the oven with the oil. Boil the spuds in a pan of heavily salted water for about 10 minutes until outside becomes soft but still hard to push a knife through the middle. Strain the potatoes and put them back into the pan for a minute or two to steam dry. Fluff the potatoes up by shaking them in the pan and transfer them to the baking dish of hot oil with the garlic, rosemary and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake on the top shelf of the oven and baste every 15 minutes until the potatoes are crispy and golden.

Rub the chicken all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Zest the lemon with a fine grater and set aside for the sage crunch. Carefully stab the lemon all over with a knife and stuff inside the cavity of the chicken with a sprig of rosemary, this will give awesome flavour to the chicken and help to keep it moist too! Roughly chop all the gravy ingredients and sit the chicken on top of them. (we’ll make the gravy out of all that roast veg later). Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 90 minutes, as a general rule it's 45 minutes per kilo plus 20 minutes, so for a 1.5kg chicken, it's about 90 minutes. Don't forget to baste that bad boy every half hour!

For the butternut squash, cut a 1 inch steak straight out of the middle of the squash, you can save the offcuts for a mid-week stew. Remove the seeds and reserve for the sage crunch. Season the squash with a little oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and add to the oven. Bake until soft and golden.

For the sage crunch, put a frying pan over medium to high heat with a splash of oil and a tiny knob of butter. Add the  butternut squash seeds and fry for a minute or two… be careful as these will pop as they cook (you can put a saucepan lid on top of your frying pan to stop them flying out everywhere). Once golden, add the breadcrumbs, sage, reserved lemon zest and a bashed garlic clove. Fry for a further minute until the breadcrumbs are golden and season with salt and pepper. This should be smelling awesome. Reserve for later and sprinkle over the butternut squash to serve.

Wash the carrots but don't peel them, there’s some great nutrients in that skin! Slice the carrots on an angle about 5mm thick. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the carrots. Cook until ‘al dente’ and strain. Finish the carrots in a hot pan of foaming butter. Make sure you get a nice golden colour on those carrots in the pan. Remove from the heat and shake in the chopped parsley to serve.

For the parsnips first wash them, there’s also no need to peel these. Chop them lengthways into 6 or 7 pieces and mix in a baking tray with the honey, oil, salt & pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle with toasted almonds to finish.

Peel the roscoff onions and cut in half straight through the middle. Make sure you keep the root intact because this will hold the onion together while it cooks. Get a frying pan over a high heat and add a splash of oil. Char the onions flat side down until blackened. Add to the oven to finish cooking.

For the hispi cabbage, roughly chop half the cabbage and wash in a colander. Boil for 3 minutes in salted water and drain (reserving the water for the gravy). Toss the cabbage in butter to finish.

Finally, the homemade gravy! Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven and cover with tin foil and a wet tea towel to rest. All the lovely chicken and lemon juices will have dripped down onto that bed of roasted vegetables left in the tray. Add the tray to the hob over a low heat and mash everything up with a potato masher. Break the chicken wings off and add them too for extra flavour. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for a minute or two. Add the hispi cabbage water and bring to a light simmer. Cook for 5 minutes until the gravy thickens. You may need to add some extra water depending on how thick you like your gravy. Season with salt, pepper and squeeze the roasted lemon from the cavity into the gravy too!

Serve the chicken and all of those super tasty sides on a big serving platter and get stuck in!! This will blow the minds of your family or any lucky dinner guests you may have!

By Stephen McClarty 
Instagram @cockney_chef