Classic roast chicken is a recipe that everyone can – and maybe even should – cook. It is basic, simple and delicious and always hits the spot.
Get a good Bord Bia Quality Assured chicken. I like the corn-fed ones as they are beautifully moist.
The maize gives them that yellowish colour.
To keep your chicken moist, baste it regularly. I like the lemon in this recipe. It adds a nice freshness. The leftovers are ideal for school lunches or for a snack when children get back from school.
I always use the carcase to make stock for soup.
Baked ham is delicious hot or cold. Again, the orange juice adds that nice freshness. Baked ham is always good with wheaten bread and you can have it hot or cold. There will always be leftovers which again are ideal for lunch boxes.
Baked ham will keep happily for up to a week in the fridge, or slice and store in the freezer in handy bags for up to two months.
Neven’s new TV series Spanish Trails is on RTÉ 1 at 8.30pm on Wednesdays.
Classic roast chicken
Classic roast chicken. \ Photography: Claire Nash. Food styling: Janine Kennedy
Serves four to six
2 onions, halved
8 small carrots, peeled
1.5kg (3¼lb) whole chicken (preferably free-range or organic)
1 lemon, halved
1 small bunch of fresh thyme (optional)
50g (2oz) butter, softened
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper1 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5). Get a shelf ready in the middle of the oven without any shelves above it.2 Scatter the vegetables over the base of a roasting tin that fits the chicken but doesn’t swamp it. Season the chicken cavity liberally with salt and pepper, then stuff with the lemon halves and thyme, if using.3 Sit the chicken on the vegetables and smother the breast and legs all over with the butter, then season the outside with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and leave undisturbed for 1 hour 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown. To check that it’s fully cooked, pierce the thigh with a skewer – the juices should run clear.4 Remove the cooked chicken from the oven and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. Once it is completely cold it can be covered with cling film and stored in the fridge until needed. Carve into slices and use as required.
Honey-glazed baked ham
Serves four to six
1.75kg (3lb 14oz) gammon joint
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
200ml (7fl oz) freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp light brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper1 Soak the gammon in cold water overnight to remove any excess saltiness, then rinse well and place in a large pan with a lid. Cover with fresh cold water. Add the onion, carrot, bay leaves and peppercorns. Slowly bring to the boil, then cover and simmer very gently for 1 hour 30 minutes, until just cooked through and tender, periodically skimming off and discarding any white froth that comes to the surface. Remove from the heat and leave in its liquid to cool for 30-40 minutes.2 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).3 Remove the gammon joint from the cooking liquid and carefully cut away the rind and some of the excess fat. Cut the remaining fat in a lattice pattern and place the ham in a small roasting tin, then pour in the orange juice.4 Mix together the mustard, honey and sugar in a small bowl. Season generously with pepper, then smear all over the gammon joint. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until sticky and caramelised. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for at least 20 minutes before carving what you need. Leave to cool completely and put on a plate, then cover well with cling film and keep in the fridge to use as required.