Emergency Chicken

Pic: Catherine Grassin Hart

If you follow me on social media you’ll know that I’m finally getting my long-promised cookery school off the ground, hurrah! Planning the courses is enormously satisfying. So is testing them on my long-suffering friends and guinea pigs (see left: I’m not telling you what we were laughing about).

Writing legal requirements like terms and conditions and privacy and cookies policies is less exhilarating. They’re now in the hands of a solicitor for what he rather hilariously and all too aptly calls a sanity check.

As soon as the website goes live (soon, soon) I’ll share the details. It’s all hugely exciting but frankly, pretty exhausting, so my plans to do something creative with last week’s blackberry vinegar have fallen by the wayside. Instead, I’m sharing my recipe for Emergency Chicken.

It’s not ground-breaking but it is delicious, easy to prepare and quick to cook, all big pluses when you’re too shattered to think.

Emergency Chicken

  • Servings: 4 tired but hungry people
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1 medium-sized chicken, approx 1.75 kg, free-range if you can afford it

1 lemon

1 bulb of garlic

4 or 5 large sprigs of rosemary

Extra virgin rapeseed oil

Salt and pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.

Spatchcock the chicken for speed of cooking – turn the bird on its back and with kitchen shears or a very sharp knife, snip out the backbone. (Reserve this for the stock you’re going to make with the carcass tomorrow, oh yes you are).

Slice a lemon,ย pick four or five large sprigs of rosemary and cut a whole garlic bulb in half across its circumference. Lay the chicken on the lemons, oil the rosemary so it doesn’t burn, drizzle more oil on the bird, season well with salt and pepper and tuck in the herbs and garlic.

Roast for 45 minutes or until the skin is golden and the juices run clear when you stick a knife in the thickest part of the meat. Remove and rest somewhere warm for at least 10 minutes.

Scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, squash the lemon and garlic to extract all their goodness, then strain into a clean pan. Reduce if necessary to concentrate the flavour.

Joint or slice the bird. Pour the pan juices over and serve with roast potatoes and your choice of greens.


18 thoughts on “Emergency Chicken

  1. I was not aware of the imminent birth of your cookery school . . . am holding my fingers crossed for as faultless a beginning as possible and joy and satisfaction on an ongoing basis . . .

    • Thanks on all counts, Lynn. I’m currently on a magazine deadline so that’s having to take priority today. Back to the new website tomorrow. You’ll guess from all this that we’ve been eating a lot of chicken. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I love this! Over here in North America. Emergency chicken would be a run to the grocery and pick up one of their unappetizing rotisserie chickens.

    I love English cooking, over here everything is fast or convenience food, unless like me you choose not to buy into it. The States are worse than Canada for it.

    • Thanks, Charles, glad you like it. I don’t know why rotisserie chickens in North America and the UK are so depressingly bad (maybe the quality of the birds) when in Spain and other parts of the Med they can be spectacular. Until then I’m forced to make my own speedy chicken recipes. Have a great weekend, whatever you’re cooking. Linda

  3. Linda: For one they are really small. For two, most people pick them up after work. They start cooking them in the morning and cook them until they are overcooked and dry. Then they are put in these plastic containers and the grease drips into the pan and sits there all day. I have had one or two but never again. Everything is done in big store chains and the employees just don’t care. What I wouldn’t do to go to a butcher and order what you want, and if they don’t have it, they either cut it or order it.

    My people are in Plymouth, Devon. When my husband and I were there, it was like I had come home. I never felt at home here, even though it was where I was born. My husband even commented on it.

    • Ugh, that makes me feel quite queasy! I rarely buy meat from supermarkets but living where I do I’m fortunate in having good butchers and farm shops.
      Devon is a beautiful part of the world, I hope you’ll be able to visit again when life back back to something approaching normal. Lx

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