Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme and Dauphinoise Potatoes
Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme, together with my healthier version of Dauphinoise Potatoes, make a fantastic and easy Sunday lunch.
The chicken will be very garlicky, with the flavour enhanced by the lemon and thyme. I have toned down the garlic in the Dauphinoise potatotes but feel free to increase it if you are feeding lots of garlic lovers! Dauphinoise Potatoes make a great accompaniment to roast meat but also are popular with vegetarians. Soft potatoes, flavoured with thyme and garlic, with a crispy top – who wouldn’t want this with their Sunday lunch?
My version is a lighter, and healthier, version of the traditional recipe for Dauphinoise potatoes which uses cream (or a mix of milk and cream). I just use milk as I find the traditional version is too rich and heavy. The milk gets absorbed by the potatoes, along with the flavours of the garlic and thyme. When people eat this dish, they often think that there is cheese included, although there isn’t, because of the way the milk reduces. This is also a very accommodating dish as it is made in advance and it is happy sitting in a warm oven if more time is needed for other elements of your meal.
Crispy-skinned roast chicken, flavoured with garlic, lemon and thyme – who wouldn’t want this for Sunday lunch?
Sprig of thyme
4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
125 g butter (softened)
Salt and pepper
Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
Remove the thyme leaves from the woody stems (keep the stems) and put them in a small bowl. Add the grated zest of your lemon along with the crushed garlic. Put your softened butter into the bowl and mash to combine with the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
Loosen the skin on your chicken’s breast by gently pushing your fingers under it. Push half of the flavoured butter under the skin. Smear the other half of the butter all over the chicken.
Quarter your zested lemon and put this in the chicken’s cavity along with the thyme stems.
Place your chicken in the roasting pan and cover with foil.
Place your chicken in the oven. The time that it will take to roast will depend on its size but will probably be between one and a half and two hours. Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
When it is done, remove the chicken from the roasting pan and put it on a warm plate, covered with foil, to rest for 10 minutes.
If you want gravy, you can use the following method. Pour the juices from the roasting pan into a measuring jug or similar container. The juices will settle within a minute or so with the fat rising to the surface. Take two tablespoons of the fat and return them to the roasting pan. Add two tablespoons of plain flour. Stir together and cook over a low heat for a few minutes. Add the rest of the chicken juices to the roasting pan together with some hot water (either from the kettle or water used to cook vegetables is great). Allow to bubble for a few minutes and then pour into a gravy boat or jug to serve.
Crisp on the top, soft and creamy underneath, and flavoured with garlic and thyme, these potatoes are fantastic with roast meat or grilled fish.
1 kilo potatoes
Sprig of thyme
1 clove of garlic
500 ml milk
Salt and pepper
Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
Butter the oven-proof dish
Peel and slice the potatoes thinly into disks
Put a layer of potato disks in the dish. Dot with knobs of butter. Season with salt and pepper – it is really important to season every layer. Sprinkle with a few thyme leaves and a little crushed garlic. I prefer this dish to have a whisper of garlic so only use one clove throughout but feel free to increase the amount of garlic if you like!
Repeat step 3 until the dish is filled.
Pour the milk into the dish.
Put the dish into your oven and cook for around 1 hour. At the end of this time, the potatoes should be soft, and most of the milk should have been absorbed, and the top should be crisp and golden.
Keywords: dauphinoise potatoes, garlic potatoes
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This Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Butter is an easy and adaptable supper recipe. When fresh sorrel is in season, I make it with my Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter but at other times of the year I either use other herb butters or just regular salted butter. Whatever type of butter you choose, it is a very quick, crowd-pleasing recipe which is good for a week-night supper but is also not out of place if you are entertaining.
Things you need to know about this Prawn Pasta recipe
It is really important to allow time for the fennel and onion to cook slowly and become soft and caramelised (step 1) as this makes a big difference to the taste of the finished dish.
I think my Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter works well with the flavours of the fennel and the prawns. It has a lemony taste which enhances both ingredients. However, if you can use other herb flavoured butter or just plain butter if you prefer.
You can use any kind of pasta for this dish. I suggest using long pasta, such as spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle as I think this works best wish the buttery sauce. However, if you prefer shorter pasta such as penne, that also works well.
This recipe for Prawn Pasta is a great week-night supper option. It is easy, tasty and uncomplicated and can be made in ten minutes. Here are some of my other simple pasta supper recipes.
Basic Tomato Sauce – this is an easy recipe for a rich sauce using store-cupboard ingredients. Delicious stirred into pasta as it is and open to lots of variations and additions!
Creamy Mushroom Pasta – this is simple vegetarian sauce combines mushrooms and chestnuts and lots of garlic. It can be used with any kind of pasta but I prefer it with short pasta such as gigli or penne.
Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon – this simple recipe can be made in 15 minutes. Smoked salmon trimmings are combined with fennel and chives and a squeeze of lemon.
Macaroni Cheese – this is a brilliant make-ahead vegetarian recipe which has a secret layer of caramelised onions and a bit of cayenne to balance its rich cheesiness. Topped with a layer of crisp breadcrumbs it is perfect served with a simple green salad.
Recipe for Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter
350 g (12 oz) dried long pasta (eg spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle)
Melt the 25 g butter in your frying pan over a low heat. Finely chop the fennel and onion and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook slowly for around 15 minutes until soft and sweet. Either chop the garlic clove finely or squeeze through a garlic press and add to the mixture and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Add the raw prawns, and the tiger prawns if you are using them, to the pan and fry for around five minutes until pink and cooked.
Meanwhile, boil water in a big saucepan, add salt to taste, and cook your pasta as specified on the packet. This would usually be for around 10 minutes.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the frying pan with the fennel, onion and prawns. (It is always best to add the pasta to the sauce rather than the other way around as this makes sure that the balance of pasta to sauce is as you like it.).
Add your Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter to the frying pan, let it melt into the pasta and prawn mixture and serve.
Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter – capture the flavour of zesty spring herbs
Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter is a fantastic way to capture the fresh taste of spring herbs. Sorrel is a leafy plant, with leaves that look a bit like spinach leaves, and has a distinctive lemony taste. It provides a burst of fresh sharp flavour which is so welcome in early spring. It can be hard to find in supermarkets but it is very easy to grow if you have a garden or outside space for a pot. Sorrel was one of the first things that I planted when I moved into my current house – it sits in an unprepossessing spot near the garden fence, needs no attention whatsoever and each year produces lots of leaves from early spring onwards.
Clearly, you can use any herbs that you like to make a Herb Butter. Others that lend themselves particularly well to this kind of treatment are parsley, tarragon (especially good with chicken) and sage (good with pasta). You can play with different flavour combinations to suit your taste. However, I think it is best not to include too many herbs – you need to allow individual flavours to be sing out rather than get lost in a crowd. Also, it is best to stick to soft herbs (rather than woody herbs). Other flavourings that go well in a herb butter include garlic (of course!), chilli, citrus (grated zest of lemon, orange or lime) and spices (in particular nutmeg).
A tasty Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter which can be used to enhance the flavour of pasta and cooked fish and meat.
3 to 4 sorrel leaves
Around 10 chive stems
100 g salted butter (ideally, room temperature)
1 clove of garlic
Black pepper to taste
Finely chop the sorrel and chives. Either chop the garlic clove finely or squeeze through a garlic press
Mash up the butter and incorporate the chopped herbs, garlic and black pepper. This is much easier to do if you have left the butter out of the fridge for half an hour or so.
Shape the herby butter as you wish. I generally roll it into a sausage shape. Then, when you want to use the butter, you can easily cut it into discs. Sometimes, I get fancy and use cookie cutters to shape it into hearts or other shapes.
Put the Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter into the fridge, wrapped in cling-film, until you wish to use it. It will keep in the fridge for around two weeks and can also be frozen if you wish to keep it for longer as it will last for around three months in the freezer.
There are so many uses for Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter – it adds zest and flavour to a great many dishes – but some of my favourites are as follows:
Add on top of grilled meat or fish just prior to serving. It will melt and release all its butter flavour. I think Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter is particularly good with grilled chicken and with grilled salmon or lemon sole.
Stir into cooked pasta to make a quick and tasty supper – see my recipe for Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter. Or you could add some steamed vegetables – courgettes or peas are a good choice – or other sea-food such as scallops.
Spread on some crusty bread and just eat it as it is or add some tangy cheese.
Keywords: sorrel butter, chive butter
Other things you can do with Sorrel
In addition to Herb Butter, there are lots of other quick and easy ways in which you can use sorrel. Some of my favourites are as follows.
Use young leaves in a mixed green salad, along with lettuce, spinach or other greens.
Heat some double cream and add chopped up sorrel leaves to make an instant sauce for meat or fish.
Saute chopped up sorrel leaves in butter for a few minutes and then use as the filling for an omelette. Or you can add the leaves to the egg mixture when making an omelette and fill it with something rich and creamy such as grated cheddar cheese.
Add chopped up sorrel leaves to soup – it goes very well with home-made leek and potato soup or chicken soup – to give instant zest.