A Summer Roast

The Roast Dinner is so quintessentially British, but it's usually thought of a winter food. And rightly so, for the most part. Roast potatoes covered in steaming gravy, Yorkshire Puddings crisp and light, succulent pork or beef or chicken or lamb, followed up by sponge pudding and custard. It's the proper way.

But in this in-between time - when it's not so sunny that you're having a barbecue every weekend, but it's not quite cold enough for a full on roast dinner, what's a girl to do? Rustle up a summer version of course! Perfect for a family dinner on a summer Sunday, whether that's your 'real' family or just your chosen one! New potatoes give it a summer feel, and the lemony chicken is really fresh. Throw in the chorizo and you'll have a happy crowd!

This meal is super easy - I know roast dinners can seem a little daunting, with all the different dishes but it couldn't be simpler. Chicken in one tray, potatoes in another and vegetables in last. The only thing to watch out for is the timings - when it comes to roasting potatoes too many people don't leave enough time. If you're in a rush you can microwave the potatoes for 5 minutes first to make sure they're fluffy inside, but equally just make sure you leave at least 45 minutes and you'll be guaranteed brown, crispy skins with soft insides.

Ingredients:

A whole chicken (whichever size you need! Just cook for the amount of time specified on the packet - ours was 1 hour 50 minutes and fed 3 people generously and 4 people not so generously)

Assorted vegetables - I used courgette, leek, pepper, asparagus and baby tomatoes, but it's really up to you. If our mushrooms hadn't been going off then they would have been thrown in too - just use any summer vegetables you've got!

New potatoes

2 lemons (or more if you like it really lemony)

Chorizo (again, as much or as little as you want)

Garlic, butter, salt & pepper (Paul used rosemary and thyme as well, but I don't think it's necessary)

1. Prepare the chicken by pushing butter and a little bit of squashed garlic under the skin (or a lot if you're a garlic fan!). If you want to be a bit healthier you can just rub the skin with a little bit of olive oil, but I like the crispy deliciousness that is chicken skin cooked in butter! Season liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Stab the lemon a few times with a knife and pop it inside the chicken's bottom. This keeps the meat really moist and gives a lovely infusion of lemon - perfect for summer! Pop in a baking tray with a few more cloves of garlic, some lemon wedges and some chunks of chorizo. Cook according to pack instructions (ours was 1 hour 50 minutes - cover about half way through with foil to stop the chicken drying out.

3. Slice or quarter the new potatoes depending on how big you want them. Toss in a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pop into the oven at least 45 minutes before the chicken is due to be done.

4. Slice up the veggies into chunks - you don't need me to guide you here! Pop them in another tray with a splash of olive oil and some more chunks of chorizo. The chorizo in the chicken tray is liable to burn because it's in the oven so long, so this way you get to have some with your meal as well! The vegetables need to be in the oven about 30 minutes before the end.

*****

It should be all done at the same time - you may want to give five minutes leeway so you can carve the chicken before the potatoes and vegetables are done. You can either serve up individually or pile it all into big bowls for everyone to serve themselves. A dry white wine or a cold beer is the only extra you'll need! You can also cook the chicken this way and serve with salad and crusty bread now that it's getting hotter!