The Cottage Smallholder

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Sunday Roast: Emma’s easy roast chicken recipe with automatic garlic sauce (also works well with roast pheasant)

roast chicken My friend Emma gave me this special roast chicken recipe. Everyone loves it, including her young children and it’s quick and easy to prepare. The chicken sits in the stock as it roasts so it is succulent and full of flavour. The garlic sauce is delicious and doesn’t blow your head off. If you are looking for an easy way to cook pheasant this recipe works very well with game.


  • 1 chicken (approx 1.5 kilos)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 300-600 ml of hot chicken stock (depending on the size of your casserole. There needs to be enough to cover half the bird)
  • Splosh of white wine (optional)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 unwaxed lemon/apple/onion to stuff the cavity
  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • Ground black pepper


Set the oven to 210c (190c fan-assisted)

  1. Put the lemon in the cavity of the chicken and place the chicken in a small casserole dish.
  2. Break up the head of garlic into cloves and scatter them around the bird (do not peel these).
  3. Tuck the sprigs of thyme around the bird.
  4. Arrange the streaky rashers over the breast of the bird.
  5. Pour on the hot stock and the wine. Season with ground black pepper.
  6. Put a piece of foil under the lid of the casserole to insure a tight fit. An place the casserole in the centre of your preheated oven.Cook the chicken covered for an hour.
  7. Remove the chicken temporarily from the oven, put the bacon and put it on a small baking dish to crisp at the bottom of the oven. Return the chicken to the oven for another 30 minutes (lid off to brown). Top up the juices with more hot stock if necessary.
  8. When the chicken is cooked, remove it to a warm place. Don’t forget to take the bacon out of the oven at this point. Cover the chicken with foil and some towels to relax whilst you prepare the garlic sauce and cook your vegetables.
  9. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon. Squeeze out the garlic from the skins (discard skins) and using a hand blender whiz the garlic into the rest of the juices. Pour into a warm jug to serve with the chicken.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Paul

    Great that you enjoyed this dish! Love the idea of mixing the bacon with the vegetables!

  2. Fantastic alternative to conventional roast oven chicken.

    The best bit of course is the garlicky gravy (am I allowed to call it that?). Superb flavour from the meat juices mingled with stock/wine. I did think about adding a dash of cream to it, but garlic cooked in its skin actually turns out to be surprisingly creamy already.

    Best if you can get a free range chicken, as these are a lot tastier than standard type.

    Chop the bacon up and mix with whatever vegetables you’re using.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Rich

    Great that you liked it. Good idea for a blog – Sunday roasts. Very readable and accessible too!

  4. Rich Osborne

    Thanks for this – tried it the other day. Just added a short post about it on my own blog as well:

    (not quite as comprehensive as yours, I’m a bit sporadic with this blogging lark)

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Jay,
    Thanks for leaving a comment. This dish is very tasty and so easy to make. Yes, it would be good to marinate the chicken before – perhaps in olive oil, lemon juice and herbs.

  6. this sure looks enticing to me. the sauce has to be prepared really well cause i guess in my opinion, 40% of the taste satisfaction will come from that. Plus if you let the chicken sip some juice or anything to enhance its flavor more before roasting then it should be perfect. Thanks for sharing this one. Sure makes me hungry.

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