Simple food is often the best, especially in the summer, but if it is rainy or overcast then something warming is what you want. Traditionally roast chicken in the UK comes with a load of vegetables and complexity. Here is a quick recipe for roast chicken that takes about 20 minutes preperation.
Take the following, one roast chicken, preferably free range, as they do taste better, about 1.4kg for two people. Other ingredients are some herbs to tuck under the skin, plus salt, pepper and some olive oil. Leaves and bread are the perfect thing to eat with chicken in the summer, watercress is a good choice, though mache (lambs lettuce) or rocket are also good. Then some bread, preferably french baguette or maybe ciabatta.
Take the chicken, poke some holes in the skin and tuck in some fresh herbs, rub some olive oil into the skin and put some salt and pepper over the skin too. Put in a preheated oven for 20 minutes per 500g, plus twenty minutes, so about 1hour and 15 minutes for the 1.4kg bird. Put the chicken into the oven breast side down initially, and roast for 20 or so minutes at about 200 degrees C, this keeps the breast meat more moist.
You now have basically an hour or so to get on with some other things, other than turning over the bird breast side up after twenty minutes. When then chicken is nearing done, check on it using a sharp knife, poke a neat incision deep into the bird over one of the legs, let the juices well up and flow over the blade of the knife, they should be clear and not pink. If you think they are pink, then put the bird back for another 5-10 minutes. If it is going brown on top and still pink, then put a bit of kitchen foil over the bird and put it in for another 10. When you check again do so on the other side.
Once you have a cooked chicken, put it on a plate or carving board to rest for 10 minutes, but as you do so tip the juices from inside into the roasting tin. There will be a few spoonfuls of juice. Put the tin on the hob and add a decent splash of wine and a pinch of flour, then turn the heat up and keep moving the liquid around. The aim is to loosen all the sticky bits on the bottom of the pan and gently cook the flour, if it looks a bit thick, add a splash more wine or some water. The important thing is to not burn it and ensure it is well mixed through with the flour cooked.
The gravy will have all the fat from the bird mixed in with it, you can tip the roasting tin over to one corner if there is a lot of it, but you do not need to be too fastidious with spooning off the fat, as it is quite tasty too.
Carve the chicken and serve on moderately warmed plates on which you have placed your salad leaves. Pour over some gravy and pass around the bread and wine. Enjoy.
A decent roasting tin really helps to stop things sticking and it helps with the washing up. I like the mermaid ones, they are tough and well made. If you liked this recipe, then you might like one of my favourite cookery writers, Simon Hopkinson, who has the aptly named Roast Chicken and other stories books. These are delightful stories and recipes focused around particular ingredients. These are all available from Amazon, see below.