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Roasted Chicken With Home-made Gravy

This is a firm favourite for South African families for a Sunday lunch.

± 1.5 kg whole chicken, thawed
2.5 ml salt
5 ml paprika
olive oil
1 large onion, quartered

Gravy
± 100 ml water, milk or wine
2.5 ml stock powder (beef or chicken)
45 ml cake flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Remove the chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to roast it. Set it aside. Please note: a whole chicken will take about 12 hours to defrost.
  3. Get out a roasting tin with a rack and set it aside.
  4. Combine the spices in a small mixing bowl and mix it well. Set it aside.
  5. Add 500 ml water to the roasting tin and set it aside.  The water will keep the chicken moist during the cooking process.
  6. Check that there is nothing in the cavity of the chicken and place the chicken on the rack of the roasting tin.
  7. Rub the oil all over the chicken.
  8. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken.
  9. Place the onion quarters in the cavity of the chicken.  Leftover onion can be stored in a ziplock bag or an airtight container.
  10. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes.  Set a timer so that you don’t forget about it!
  11. When the timer rings, remove the roasting tin from the oven with oven mittens and place it on a pot stand.
    Turn the chicken over with the help of two forks. 
  12. If the water has evaporated, add the same amount of water before returning the roasting tin to the oven.
  13. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes more.  Set a timer so that you do not forget about it.
  14. When the timer rings, remove the roasting tin from the oven with oven mittens.
  15. To test if the chicken is cooked, prick the thickest part of the leg with a utility knife. The juices coming out of the chicken must be clear.  The legs will seem loose if moved.
  16. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and serve immediately or set the chicken aside to cool down before covering the dish with a lid or cling wrap and storing it in the fridge until it is time to reheat the chicken.
  17. Alternatively transfer the chicken to a chopping board and carve it into neat portions with a cook’s knife (see step-by-step instructions below).  
  18. Place the chicken pieces in a serving dish and let it cool down before covering the dish with a lid or cling wrap and storing it in the fridge until it is time to reheat it.
  19. To make the gravy, pour the pan juices from the roasting tin into a measuring jug and fill it up to 500 ml with water, wine or milk.
  20. Add the stock powder, if used, and mix well with a fork.
  21. Transfer the cake flour to a medium saucepan.  
  22. Add a little of the liquid from the measuring jug and make a paste using a spatula to prevent lumps.  Add the rest of the liquid and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  23. Bring the mixture to the boil while stirring and cook until the sauce has thickened.
  24. Taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning if necessary, i.e. add a bit more salt.
  25. Transfer the gravy to a gravy boat (a measuring jug will also do the trick!) and set it aside to cool down.
  26. Cover the gravy boat with cling wrap and store it in the fridge until it is time to reheat it.
  27. Serve the chicken and gravy with couscous, roasted potatoes or rice and salad or vegetables. 

4 to 6 servings.

Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting tin and pour 250 ml water into the tin.
Transfer the chicken to a chopping board with a juice groove.
Transfer the pan juices to a measuring jug and set it aside.
Start by cutting away the leg of the chicken.
Separate the drumsticks from the thighs.
Do the same with the other leg.
Carve the wings away from the carcass.
Carve the breasts from the carcass.
Carve the breast on the diagonal to be a standard serving size.  
The carcas is great for making home-made chicken stock! Just add the carcas, a carrot, a quartered onion and a stick of celery to a pot with boiling water and bring to a boil. Then simmer for about an hour before discarding everything except the stock.
Add the cake flour, salt and stock powder, if used, to a medium saucepan.
Add a little of the liquid from the measuring jug and make a paste using a spatula to prevent lumps.  
Add the rest of the liquid and mix well with a wooden spoon.
Bring the mixture to the boil while stirring and cook until the sauce has thickened.
Taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Transfer the gravy to a gravy boat (a measuring jug will also do the trick!).