Christmas dinner for 6, for under £20. Roast chicken, pigs in blankets, roasted veggies and all the trimmings and fun instructions. Enjoy!
I thought I’d divide up the method into trays to make it more simple to explain, instead of giving you a script of instructions that wouldn’t make you feel merry. I’d recommend splitting the jobs between your flatmates/ family members by trays so that you divide the workload and still have time for drinks.
TRAY 1- THE ROAST CHICKEN
Preheat the oven to 180°C FAN/ 200°C conventional.
Start by rinsing a few carrots and parsnips and roughly slicing them into large chunks. Slice the onion into thick wedges (skin on) and the garlic in half across it’s width. Place the veg into the bottom of your baking tray, along with a little drizzle of rapeseed oil. Toss to coat. You want the chicken to be elevated so that the juices can all into the base and cook with the veg (= best gravy coming soon).
Next, place the chicken onto the bed and remove the string (if it has any). Pat dry with a paper towel and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Next, drizzle over around 3 tbsp of rapeseed/vegetable oil over the chicken and use one hand to ensure the chicken is fully coated. Sprinkle over ½ tbsp of mixed herbs and place a few springs of thyme and rosemary inside the cavity. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 40 minutes
After this time, remove the foil and continue to cook for 1 hour. (Cook the chicken for 40 minutes per kilo weight and add an extra 20 minutes. Mine was 100 minutes). Leave to rest.
Preheat the oven to 200°C FAN/ 220°C Conventional.
Tip: if you have the oven space (not essential if you don’t!), follow this method using two trays so that the roasties can have enough to crispy up.
Begin the roastie journey by peeling all of the potatoes. As long as you have a glass of wine and some tunes, this process won't be too painful. If you’re peeling these ahead of time, place in a bowl with cold water.
Once you’ve peeled the tates, roughly chop them into quarters and for smaller potatoes, into halves. Pop into a large saucepan with heavily salted cold water. When it starts to simmer, set a timer for 8-10 minutes, until fork tender.
Meanwhile, add a crazy amount of rapeseed oil to a baking tray (it’s Christmas) so that the base of the tray is filled to a depth of 1 cm. Pop in the oven with the chicken for 10 minutes while the potatoes are simmering.
Drain the potatoes and place them back into the saucepan. Season generously with salt and add 2 tbsp of cornflour. Close the lid and give them a good shake to rough up the exterior.
Remove the oil from the oven. To make sure the oil is hot enough, you can add one potato and see if it sizzle and pops (careful to not splash yourself).
Transfer the tates into the hot oil, pour them away from you and move your body back so that you don’t splash yourself with the hot oil. Pls don’t get splashed, it will not be fun. When they stop spitting, use a spoon so that the oil coats the potatoes. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, rotate the potatoes and add a few sprigs of thyme into the tray to infuse into the potatoes. Cook for 20-30 minutes more, or until golden and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the oil and season with more salt and pepp.
TRAY 3 HONEY AND MUSTARD GLAZED CARROTS AND PARSNIPS
Preheat the oven to 200°C FAN/ 220°C Conventional.
Start by peeling and chopping the carrots and parsnips into long slices. Approx 1.2 cm in width. Place into a large baking tray
Drizzle 2 tbsp of oil onto the veg and add 2 tbsp of wholegrain mustard, 3 tbsp of honey, 1 tbsp of cornflour and a generous amount of flaky salt. Massage to incorporate everything and cover with foil. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 20 minutes.
Pan 1 (Stove top) - CRISPY BACON & BRUSSELS
Start by adding the bacon (roughly chopped into small chunks) into a non-stick with 1 tbsp of olive or rapeseed oil over a medium heat. Gently fry for around 10 minutes, or until golden and crispy. For the final minute of fry time, add a small drizzle of honey (around 1 tsp) to really get the bacon crispy. Set aside.
Meanwhile , washing the brussels. Then chop the tough base off. slice the brussel lengthways then thinly slice into shreds. Add the brussel shreds into the pan along with another 1 tbsp of oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and fry for around 7 minutes, until golden and crispy whilst still being vibrant and green.
CHEAT TRAYS 4 & 5 - STUFFING BALLS AND PIGS IN BLANKETS
A few short cuts were made here. To make stuffing from scratch, it’s a crazy long process and the box stuffing hits the mark so why mess with it. The same goes with the pigs in blankets. All you need to do is follow the instructions on the pack!
I add a cheeky tbsp of honey to the pigs in blankets to maximise the crispiness and it also provides a great contrast with the salty bacon. Pop in the oven for the allocated time on the pack. To save oven space, use your airfryer for these if you have one.
Style the stuffing balls in a creative pyramid to compensate for the lack of effort you put in. (No judgement)
After removing the chicken from the oven, you can pick it up with the foil and place on a tray to rest. The chicken bed should now be full of caramelised veg, chicken juices and oil. If there are any dark brown bits that look burnt- dont worry! That crazy flavour and you don’t want to throw it away. Pour the juices and veg through a sieve into a hob- safe tray or a large saucepan on a medium heat.
Add 3 tbsp of plain flour into the tray, using a whisk to mix quickly.
Slowly pour in 1 litre of chicken stock. Once you’ve done this, add the caramelised veg back into the gravy along with any remaining thyme and rosemary you have. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring intermittently.
Once it has thickened, do the final pour through the sieve and you’re good to go.
COOK TIMES & TIMETABLE
The first tray should go in the oven just over 2 hours before you want to eat, so use this schedule accordingly. Eg. eating at 7:30pm, you’ll want to have your chicken prepped and put in the oven at 5pm. Approx cook times we’re working with
Tray 1: Chicken 1.5 hours
Tray 2 & 3: Roasties and Carrots and Parsnips 40 minutes
Tray 4 & 5; Cheats trays (Pigs In Blanket) and (Stuffing Balls) 25-30 minutes.
Pan 1: Crispy Brussels with Bacon- 20 minutes
00:00H - Tray 1- Roast Chicken goes in
01:20H - Tray 2- Roast Potato oil goes in
01:30H - Tray 1 comes out. Tray 2 (roasties) & 3 (carrots & parsnips) go into the oven
01:40H - Cheat tray 4 (Pigs in Blankets) and Tray 5 (stuffing balls) goe into the oven
02:00H - Make Gravy! Get carving
02:10H - Remove Tray 2, 3 and Cheat Tray 4 & 5 from the oven. Serve up and enjoy!