The Christmas Two-Tin Traybake Feast: Roast Chicken with Bacon, Parsnips and Carrots, Roast Potatoes, Pigs in Blankets, Stuffing and Crispy Garlic Sprouts

Banish Christmas cooking stress with Rukmini Iyer's fuss-free two-tin Christmas feast, brimming with festive flavours and celebratory touches.

Introduction

I’d take a beautifully roasted chicken any day over turkey, and if you’re catering for four to six people, a really lovely, large free-range bird – look for one that’s about 2.3kg or more - will do just the trick for a gorgeous, hassle free centrepiece, particularly with all the trimmings baked in the tins alongside. You’ll need one tin that’s just large enough to fit your chicken, where sliced parsnips, carrots and onions can cook underneath to make a rich base for your gravy. Then you’ll need your biggest roasting tin or the tray that comes fitted as standard in your oven for the roast potatoes, crispy sprouts, cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon, and stuffing. It’s just a matter of gradually tipping your ingredients into the trays, and letting the oven do the work – a two-tin Christmas feast!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

For the roast chicken, carrots, parsnips and gravy:
450g (approx. 6) carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm diagonal slices
450g (approx. 6) parsnips, peeled and cut into 1cm diagonal slices
1 red onion, peeled and quartered
1 head garlic, halved
1 lemon, halved
handful of rosemary, sage, thyme, bay leaves – whichever you like best
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 x 2.3kg free-range chicken
handful of sage leaves
2 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
230g streaky bacon, thick cut
1 tbsp plain flour
250ml good white wine
300ml good chicken stock
sea salt flakes, to taste
For the the roast potatoes, crispy garlic sprouts, cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon, and stuffing
1.5kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and halved if small, quartered if large.
150ml sunflower or olive oil
600g sprouts, halved if large, whole if small
sea salt flakes
1 clove of garlic, grated
pinch of sea salt flakes
½ tbsp olive oil
225g bought, chilled stuffing
16 bought cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon

Essential kit

You will need: a roasting tin large enough to comfortably fit the chicken, with the vegetables underneath, which is suitable to put on the hob - mine is 37 x 29 x 5cm. And you will need an additional roasting tin or the tray that comes fitted in your oven as standard to fit all the potatoes in one layer, with plenty of space in between, which is suitable to put on the hob - mine is 41 x 28 x 4cm.

Instructions

Prep time: 45 minutes. Cook time: 2 hours 15 plus 15 minutes resting time.

1. Take the chicken out of the fridge 20 minutes before you’re ready to cook.

2. Preheat the oven to 160C fan/180C. Tip the carrots, parsnips, onion, half the garlic, half the lemon, herbs, olive oil and sea salt into the smaller roasting tin, and mix well.

3. Untie and discard any string on the chicken, and place it on top of the vegetables, sticking half the remaining garlic, lemon and some sage leaves or your other chosen herbs inside.

4. Rub the Dijon mustard all over the top of the chicken, then arrange the streaky bacon over the breasts and legs – it’s important to use thick-cut bacon, as thinly cut or pancetta crisps up too quickly.

5. Transfer to the oven to roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes. It’s going to cook for 2 hours 15 in total and rest for 15 minutes while you make the gravy, but in the meantime, you’ll want to get on with your potatoes as follows.

6. Par-boil the potatoes for 8 minutes in a large pan of salted boiling water. Drain well, then clamp the lid on the pan, and give it a couple of good shakes to fluff up the cut edges of the potatoes. (Lift the lid between each shake to check – you want the edges roughed up without ending up with a pan of mashed potato.)

7. Once the chicken has been in the oven for half an hour – which is about the time you’ll be done fluffing up the potatoes - pour the oil into your largest roasting tin or oven tray, and transfer it to the oven to heat for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the tray of hot oil to the hob, and turn the hob on to a low heat. Gently place the potatoes in the hot oil, turning them over with tongs or a spoon so they’re evenly coated in the oil. Salt them generously, and then transfer the potatoes back into the oven for 1 hour.

8. Meanwhile, mix the halved sprouts in a large bowl with the grated garlic, salt and olive oil, roll the stuffing into balls, and pour yourself a glass of champagne: you don’t have to do anything for another forty-five minutes or so.

When the chicken has had 1hr 30 mins in the oven, and the potatoes have had 1 hour

9. Turn the heat in the oven up to 180C fan/200C. Assess the bacon on the chicken, remove and reserve for later if it’s getting overly crisp and replace with tinfoil, or leave it be if it looks fine. Squeeze the half lemon in the tin all over the parsnips and carrots, and then return the tin to the oven, setting the timer on the chicken for a further 45 minutes.

10. The potatoes have now had one hour, so take that tray out of the oven and put it on the hob, making sure to close the oven door so the chicken can get on.

11. The potatoes will not yet be brown on top, but if you turn them over, they should be glassy, crisp and starting to brown underneath. That’s fine - turn them all over then evenly scatter over the brussels sprouts – don’t worry if these are piled up, they’ll reduce in size as they cook. Arrange the stuffing balls and cocktail sausages in the tin, drizzle everything with a little more olive oil and season with sea salt, then return to the oven for a final 45 minutes on a separate timer from the chicken.

12. Once the chicken has had its final 45 minutes, remove it from the oven, and pierce the legs: if you have a meat thermometer, the legs should read 70C at the thickest part without touching the bone, but otherwise if the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked through. (If not, return it to the oven for a further 15 minutes until it is.)

13. Once cooked, remove the vegetables to a warm dish with a slotted spoon, and stir through a little butter. Pierce both legs of the chicken between the leg and the breast to release the juices, and tip all the juices from inside the chicken into the tin. Remove the chicken to a carving board or warmed dish, loosely cover it with tinfoil, and let it rest for 15 minutes.

14. Place the roasting tin with all the juices on the hob on a low heat, scatter over the flour, and scrape well with a wooden spoon – don’t worry if there are a few lumps, as you’ll sieve the gravy later. Pour in the white wine, increase the heat, and let it bubble for 2-3 minutes. Add in 300ml good chicken stock, and bubble that down for 2-3 minutes too. Taste and season as needed with the sea salt, then sieve into a warmed jug.

15. Your potatoes, sprouts, cocktail sausages and stuffing should now be golden brown and cooked, and ready to serve alongside the rested chicken, crispy bacon and buttery carrots and parsnips. Note: any further juices from the rested chicken can go in with the gravy.

Rukmini's latest cookbook, The Roasting Tin Around the World, is out now and available here.

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