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Sunday Lunch and Aunt Bessies

One British custom and institution which I absolutely adore is the tradition of Sunday Lunch.   All over the UK on Sunday's most people tuck into a roast dinner of some sort . . . be it a tasty roast of beef or pork, possibly lamb and of course Roast Chicken which is a real favourite in this house!  I can usually get about 3 meals from a good sized chicken, which makes buying a good one a great economy!

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If I could teach you only one thing about chicken that you would take on board, it would be this.    Quality does matter and if you want a roast chicken that tastes divine, you want to buy the best chicken your money can buy.  Remember the chicken is the star of this show. Free range, organic and corn fed if possible.  When put up against your typical el cheapo ordinary bird, there is just no comparision in flavour.   The free range and organic one will taste infinitely better.  It's well worth the extra money.

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Of course, if you are like me, on most Sunday's I have spent a long time in church and so I do freely admit to taking a few shortcuts on the side dishes if I can.    I have always been happy to turn to Aunt Bessies when it comes to that area of expertise.  When time is short and you want something tasty on the table that doesn't involved a huge  amount of work, their products can't be beat.  I am a big fan of their mash varieties and glazed parsnips and their Yorkshire puddings are just fabulous.

I reckon they are as near to homemade as you are going to get, and that's no word of a lie.
We love them.

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*Lemon and Herb Stuffed Roast Chicken*
Serves 4 to 6
Printable Recipe

A moist and delicious perfectly roasted chicken, stuffed with a fabulous lemony herb bread stuffing.   Fabulous.

1 large free range roasting chicken (between 3 1/2 and 5 pounds in weight)
a knob of softened butter
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few thyme leaves
the juice of half a lemon
375ml of chicken stock (1 1/2 cups)

For the Stuffing:
2 TBS butter
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
the finely grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
the juice of 1/2 lemon
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
100g of fresh soft white bread crumbs (about 1 3/4 cup)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
6 medium potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks

2 TBS flour

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Have ready a nice deep roasting pan.

Melt the butter for the stuffing in a skillet.   Add the onion.  Cook, stirring over low heat, without browning, until it is meltingly soft, about 10 minutes.  Tip in the herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice and bread crumbs.   Season to taste with salt and pepper.   Allow to cool completely.  (Safe the squeezed lemon carcass)

Place your chicken into the roasting pan.  Stuff the cavity lightly with the bread stuffing.  Slather the chicken breast all over with a knob of softened butter.  Sprinkle with some sea salt and black pepper and a few thyme leaves.   Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over top.  Place the lemon carcass into the roasting pan around the chicken along with the one you used for the stuffing.  Scatter the peeled vegetables around the base of the chicken.  Sprinkle lightly with some salt and herbs.   Pour about half the chicken stock around the chicken and vegetables.

Roast for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, basting with the pan juices and turning the vegetables over halfway through the baking time.  When done the juices should run clear from the chicken when pierces between the thigh and the breast and the legs should feel quite loose when gently twisted.  Remove from the oven.   Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pan to a serving platter.  Loosely tent with foil to keep warm.   You will want it to rest for about 20 minutes now, while you make the gravy and cook any additional vegetables.

To make the gravy, pour the pan juices out into a measuring jug.  Pour a bit of boiling water in the pan and scrape up any juicy browned bits.  Pour this into the measuring jug.   Spoon about 2 TBS of the fat from the jug into a saucepan.  Discard the remainder of the fat.   Heat over medium heat until bubbling.  Whisk in the flour and cook for about a minute.   Slowly whisk in the pan juices, whisking until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken slightly.  Season to taste.  Allow to simmer over low heat for a few minutes to get rid of any flour taste.

Serve the chicken sliced, along with some of the gravy, stuffing and roasted vegetables, and of course any other vegetables you have prepared.

We love to have carrots and peas with this!  Boring I know, but very tasty.

Note - This has been a sponsored post, but I do love Aunt Bessies.  I would never recommend to you anything unless I truly did like and use the products myself.  Love their frozen mash and frozen mash with carrot and swede, their honey glazed parsnips and of course their frozen yorkshires!
Marie Rayner
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  1. You are not wrong about that Monique! xx

  2. I love the name, "Aunt Bessie's", thats a cute name, we always have a roast or a bird on Sunday as well, we did as a child so I suppose its just tradition, then we eat it for a few days after,

  3. Aunt Bessie's is a cute name Laurie, makes you think of your favourite Aunt dropping in to give you a hand with the lunch! I love roast chicken. It's a great economy!

  4. I had an Auntie Bess and I loved her so. That is why Bethany is my little Bess.

    Funny thing is that I roasted a chicken yesterday because Fridays are so busy now so I aim for an early dinner before the girls go to youth etc. I was in hurry so I put a home grown lemon in the cavity. We would get 1 full meal and some sandwiches etc out of one roast. I no longer make stock as it is to dangerous with dad.

  5. A lemon in the cavity is a great flavour booster Suzan! I wish I had home grown lemons!!


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