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Friday 11 May 2012

Sluttishly Savoury: Sherry Soaked Roast Chicken

I spent years thinking that all sherry drinkers looked like Dot Cotton and that it should be confined to trifles and Christmas. It therefore came as quite the surprise a couple of years ago when I discovered that actually sherry is all kinds of ace! From sweet raisiny cream sherries often used for trifles, through to the nutty Amontillado sherries (great for game pies) to the drier Fino sherries that I often use in Chinese and Italian dishes, it is such a versatile drop to have in your kitchen.

This recipe (known as Dot Cotton Chicken in my house) came about as a solution to timing issues whilst cooking a Sunday roast. My oven is really temperamental and I was often left waiting for my roast potatoes to finally crisp up whilst the chicken was getting cold. This is now the only way I roast my chicken and it results in a perfectly moist bird with crispy skin and the most incredible pan juices ever!

You'll need:
  • 1 chicken
  • fresh herbs (I use thyme, sage and bay as they are in my garden but you don't have to use herbs, half a lemon is lovely too, or both).
  • 400ml Cream sherry (or Amontillado for a less sweet gravy)
  • salt and pepper
  • drizzle of oil
Make it!
  1. Preheat your oven to its hottest setting (mine is about 230C), have a glass of sherry.
  2. Pop your bird in a roasting tin, remove any string thats tying it together and release the legs and wings so they are not tucked under it. Put your herbs/lemon inside the cavity.
  3. Pour over your sherry, drizzle the breast with a bit of oil to help the seasoning stick then sprinkle your salt and pepper over the breasts (you can always put some more herbs/garlic on too if you like). Cover with tin foil in a kind of tent so that the air can circulate the chicken but ensuring that no steam can escape.
  4. Roast the chicken for about 2 hours. Drink some sherry. Its fine if you leave it roasting for a bit longer as the sherry steam is keeping it lovely and moist, I have forgotten all about it before (too many glasses of sherry *may* have had something to do with it) and 3 hours later it was still perfect, phew!
  5. Once cooked remove the foil, baste with the pan juices then return to the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the skin is browned, then remove the chicken and put on a plate to rest for at least 10 minutes covered in tin foil whilst you make the most amazing gravy using your pan juices.
  1. Whilst your chicken is roasting finely slice an onion and let in really gently cook away in a small saucepan with a big knob of butter (golf ball sized is about right), some thyme and some garlic on the lowest heat setting for a good 30-40 minutes stirring every now and then. Your onions will soften and start to caramelise bringing out their natural sweetness.  I often chuck in some fennel seeds too as they go so well with chicken.
  2. Whilst your chicken is resting add a tablespoon of cornflour to your onions, mix well and cook for about a minute before adding your pan juices. Give it a good whisk, check for seasoning and thats it. You can strain your gravy but I really like the slivers of onion and garlic and the fennel seeds, although soft, give a nice burst of flavour every now and then. A squeeze of lemon at the end really lifts the gravy too.


  1. First of all, I love that you call it Dot Cotton Chicken!! This looks amazing and will add it to my Sunday dinner line up of recipes. Many thanks from the States for sharing.

  2. Trying out this recipe for Sunday roast tomorrow. Looking forward to its sherry-ish juicy goodness and that gorgeous sounding gravy!

  3. This recipe was simply gorgeous, sumptious, and divine in every single way. The heady aroma of the sherry permeated the chicken completely while the gravy complemented it with its sweet velvety goodness! And, my goodness, was it juicy! Even my brother, who moaned and groaned about Sunday's roast being chicken,begrudgingly admitted the total awesomeness of said chicken. This... This is a new favourite. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much for popping back to tell us how it went! So pleased that you won your brother over!


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