simple roast chicken with sticky onions
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ bunch of parsley (a good handful at least)
  • one whole raw chicken (about 1.6kg)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 brown onions
  • 200ml white wine (or chicken stock)
How to make it
  1. Chop the parsley finely – you can chop the leaves and some of the finer stems, but avoid the really thick ones. Zest the lemon. Add the parsley and lemon to the butter in a bowl and mash with a fork until it is all mixed in together nicely.
  2. Take the chicken and pull any stray feathers out. Turn it breast-side down on a chopping board or plate. Holding the parson’s nose (or chicken bum as we call it in our house) to make sure you’ve got it right side up, use kitchen shears (or really good scissors) to cut a line up each side of the chicken’s spine. (See the above picture for reference).
  3. Turn the chicken cut side down and place on hand on the breastbone. Using the other hand, press down swiftly and firmly. You will hear the wishbone crack and the chicken will now be flat.
  4. Grab the bird and rinse the insides under some running water, pulling out all of the bloody bits around the spine. They aren’t inedible, but i don’t particularly like the flavour (or sight) of them on the plate. Pat the bird dry.
  5. Starting at the neck end, wriggle your fingers underneath the chicken skin to form a cavity. It will look (and feel) quite rude, but please persist. Don’t worry too much about tearing the skin – if you have a good fresh, nicely raised bird, it will be rather resilient. Starting from the cut side of the skin near the thighs, wriggle your fingers beneath the skin until the maryland is only loosely covered in skin.
  6. Take about ⅔ of the butter mixture and shove it into the gap between the chicken breast and the skin. Squish it down through the skin so that it is spread evenly across the bird. Split the remaining butter in half and shove that between the skin and the chicken thighs, spreading evenly through the skin.
  7. Tip the oil over the chicken and rub it well into the skin. Grind salt and pepper over the top and rub that in really well too.
  8. At this stage you should pre-heat your oven to 230C. Yes, it’s quite hot. That’s alright. Don’t freak out.
  9. While the oven is heating, grab a baking dish that can go in the oven and also on the stove top. Peel and slice the onions into rings or half rings and scatter them all over the surface of the baking dish. Slice the (de-zested) lemon and lay the slices across the onion. Finally, Pop your bird on top of everything and throw the spine in too while you’re at it.
  10. Roast the chicken for 30-35 minutes, checking if it is cooked at the half hour mark by sticking a knife in the thickest part of the leg and pressing down to see if the juices run clear. (Clear juices = cooked, pink juices = likely food poisoning). If your chicken is bigger, it will take longer. I cooked a 2kg bird a couple of week ago that took around 45 minutes before it was done.
  11. Take the pan out of the oven and pull the bird out to rest on a board or plate. Remove the lemon slices and the spine and tryto pour most of the clear fat off the top.
  12. Put the pan over a high heat on the stove and cook the onions, stirring, until they are dark brown and starting to stick. Quickly pour the white wine in and stir madly to release all of the goodness at the bottom of the pan. When the liquid has reduced to a glaze, pop the onions into a bowl to serve with your amazing chicken.
Recipe by onebitemore at