A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater: November's Roast Chicken with Cheese Mashed Potatoes & Garlic Gravy

November 12, 2009 · 12 comments

in chicken/poultry,nigel slater,potatoes

Or, a big ol’ plate of comfort food.

I was between so many recipes for this month’s In the Kitchen challenge. Apparently, Nigel eats some crazy delicious food in November. I narrowed down my choices and asked Tom for help, but…he was no help. So, I went with this recipe because I had many of the ingredients already on hand.  Plus, mashed potatoes have become a new food group for me.

This chicken is actually very similar to chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, in that it roasts alongside copious amounts of garlic that get nice and sweet during the long cooking process.  I really liked smashing the garlic into the pan sauce/gravy because it gave it such a great flavor.  And who doesn’t like garlic and cheddar? No sane person, that’s for sure.

Nigel actually roasts potatoes alongside the chicken AND serves this with mashed potatoes. Even though I had like 8 lbs. of potatoes to use up, that still seemed a little unnecessary, so I just went with the side of mashed.  I didn’t really make Nigel’s recipe for mashed potatoes, because I never use a recipe for mashed potatoes.  Plus, I did have some buttermilk I wanted to use up and love it in mashed potatoes. So, I just added the cheddar to them to make them cheese mashed potatoes, like the recipe.

Because an opened bottle of wine doesn’t really get used up these days, I decided to just use some vermouth we had on hand instead. This lent even more sweetness to the gravy, which I really enjoyed.

This was such a delicious, comforting dish. There is something wonderful about a roast chicken on a Sunday night (well, any night, but they seem to fit better on Sundays, don’t they?) and you can never go wrong with mashed potatoes, cheese, or garlic. Never.

Roast Chicken with Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Gravy

Adapted from Nigel Slater

1 whole chicken (about 3.5 lbs.), giblets removed & saved
4-5 bushy sprigs of thyme
2 Tbsp. softened or melted butter
2 heads of garlic
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 onion, cut in half
2 bay leaves
1.5 cups water
1/2 cup vermouth or dry white wine
your favorite mashed potato recipe (that serves 4-5) OR 5 large potatoes, 4 Tbsp. butter and half a cup of milk (Nigel’s recipe)
3 oz. mature cheese such as Wensleydale, Lancashire, or cheddar, grated
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400.*  Remove the giblets from the chicken and rub the bird all over with the butter, salt, pepper, and some minced thyme.  Stuff the cavity with a few more sprigs of thyme. Place the bird upside down in a roasting pan (feel free to use a rack, I did).  Cut the heads of garlic in half horizontally and nestle them next to the chicken. Place the chicken in the oven.

Once the chicken has been roasting for 45 minutes, flip it and roast for another 45 minutes or until cooked through (check the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh).

Meanwhile, start the gravy and your mashed potatoes. In a saucepan, combine the giblets, carrot, onion, bay leaves and water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes (or longer).  Make the mashed potatoes by peeling and cutting the potatoes and placing them in cold water. Bring the water to a boil and then cook until potatoes are just fork tender. Add warm milk and butter to your liking or to Nigel’s specifications. Stir in the cheese.

Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing. As it’s resting, finish your gravy. Place the roasting pan on your stove over moderate heat. Add the vermouth or wine, and 2/3 cup of the giblet stock.  Bring to a boil, pressing the garlic cloves with a wooden spoon to squash them. Season to taste. Serve the gravy over the chicken and potatoes.

*I actually cooked at 425, but had a 5 lb. chicken so the cooking time was about the same (a little less actually, at about an hour and 20 minutes).

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