The perfect spring roast for Easter

Stuck on what to make for your family this Easter, or looking for a twist on your usual Sunday roast? In spring I’ll often do a spring lamb with Tabbouleh and Tsatsiki, but there’s a reason roast chicken is such a classic and traditional English staple – and it doesn’t have to be boring! This year I’ll be spending Easter in Amsterdam and helping mum cook for twelve guests, and this recipe would be perfect as the spring greens, potatoes and parsnips help to bulk the dish out to stretch further. I also think roasts can look so brown and bland, and I like the idea of filling one or two of Sainsbury’s large roasting tins with a one-pot mix of roast chicken, potatoes and parsnips together with cooked asparagus, courgette, beans and peas to add some fresh and cheerful pops of colour. Serving it with some fresh rosemary, thyme or mint can also help the dish look a lot fresher than a wintery roast.

This recipe will make a honey and mustard glazed chicken with Parmesan and garlic butter roast hassleback potatoes with roast parsnip, onions and garlic, and a spring vegetable side dish and side salad.

You will need:

  • 1 whole uncooked free-range chicken
  • Honey
  • Mustard
  • Olive oil
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 bulbs of garlic (that’s around 12 cloves or more)
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bag of potatoes for roasting
  • 1 bag of parsnips
  • 1 bag of carrots for roasting (optional)
  • 1 bag of baby new potatoes (for salad, optional)
  • Parmesan for grating (or ready grated Parmesan)
  • Fresh rosemary
  • 1 packet of asparagus spears
  • 1 bag of frozen peas
  • 1 packet of sugar snap peas / mangetout
  • 1 packet of green beans
  • 1 courgette, peeled and then peeled into long ribbons
  • 3 stalks of celery, washed and chopped
  • 1 handful of radishes, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 handful of snipped chives
  • 1 handful pine nuts, roasted
  • Spinach leaves, washed
  • Butter

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C, and put on the fan setting. If the chicken is frozen, bring it to room temperature first. Start with the marinade: mix together 6 tablespoons of olive oil with 3 table spoons of runny honey and 3 table spoons of mustard, and the juice of 1 lemon, then crush in 4 garlic cloves. Mix well, and season with salt and pepper.

2. Place the chicken in the middle of a large roasting tin and pour the honey & mustard glaze over the top. Peel a few cloves of garlic and add them to the roasting tin, along with the onion. Place the tin in the center of the oven, and leave it for 20 minutes whilst you get on with the next step.

3. Wash the potatoes (but don’t worry about peeling them), and slice across them making sure not to reach the bottom of the potato, so they remain whole. Some people call these ‘hassleback’ potatoes whilst others call them ‘dinosaur’ potatoes, and they’re great as they roast quicker, cook quicker in the middle, but also crisp up better – especially if you drizzle some olive oil or melted butter over the top and into the slits.

4. Melt a large knob of butter in the microwave (15 seconds should do it) and add some lemon juice, crushed garlic (I used 4 cloves for 12 potatoes), salt and pepper. Place the potatoes in a separate roasting tin (or add it to the chicken if you don’t have a second tin), and drizzle the dressing over the top of the potatoes, then place them in the oven.

5. Take the parsnips (and the carrots if using), and cut them into smaller, thinner pieces. Once the chicken has been roasting for 20 minutes, take the tray out of the oven, drizzling any of the juices back over the top, topping with the fresh chopped rosemary. Add the parsnips (and carrots if using) to the roasting tin, then return to the oven for another 20 minutes.

6. Now that the chicken is back in the oven, take out the potatoes, tip the tin a little and scoop up any of the melted garlic butter and drizzle it back onto the potatoes, then top it with a handful of grated Parmesan and return the potatoes back to the oven.

7. Now that the chicken and potatoes are nearly ready, it’s time to prepare the spring vegetables! Bring two pans of water to the boil. Add the new potatoes (if using) to one pan (cook according to packet instructions, usually around 15 minutes), then add the asparagus spears, green beans, mangetout, frozen peas and courgette strips to the second pan, cooking only for about 4 minutes, then drain and leave to cool.

8. Take half of the spring vegetable mixture and add it to a separate bowl. Add the sliced radishes, chopped celery, spinach leaves, roasted pine nuts and any leftover Parmesan, and toss in the cooked baby new potatoes when they’re ready, and add the snipped chives. Drizzle with some olive oil and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.

9. Put the rest of the cooked spring vegetables in a serving dish and top with a knob of butter to melt over the top, or reserve the spring vegetables to add to the roasting tray with the chicken, adding the hassleback potatoes as well to make one large and colourful dish. Remove the chicken and potatoes from the oven, and slice into the side or bottom of the chicken to double check that the chicken is white and cooked through in the middle.

10. Serve the chicken, potatoes, carrots and spring vegetables together with the side salad.

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