english roast chicken {by way of provence} and matt’s roast potatoes



Matt has introduced to me many wonderful things, but one of my favorites is a traditional English Sunday roast.  It is a time for family and friends to relax and hang out while the meat roasts, and then share a lovely meal together {followed by a Sunday afternoon nap}.  Traditionally, it involves a roast beef with Yorkshire puddings, but we typically make a roast chicken with roast potatoes smothered in a light wine wine gravy.

The roast chicken couldn’t be simpler.  First, I created an organic “roasting rack” composed of roughly cut carrots, onions and fennel.  Then, I brushed the chicken with melted butter and sprinkled it with salt and pepper.  Instead of kosher or sea salt, on this particular Sunday, I decided to give the roast chicken a slight Provençal vibe by using lavender sea salt from here.  During the cooking, I basted the chicken with white wine, which also drips down and flavors the vegetables, and, eventually, the gravy.

And then there are the potatoes.  I thought I knew roast potatoes; I thought we were homees.  I have made them countless times by dicing potatoes, tossing them with olive oil and rosemary, and roasting them in a hot oven.  Turns out I didn’t know them at all, at least not in their best light.  Early on in our relationship, Matt introduced me to his brilliant technique – he par boils the chunks of potatoes, drains them, shakes them vigorously in a covered pot and then roasts them in plenty of melted butter.  This method gives them a lovely “scruffy” texture, which, when roasted with butter, is amazingly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside – delicious.  Especially when topped with our homemade, white wine and roasted vegetable infused gravy.  Heaven.  There is very little to do after this other than take a nice, fat nap {waking up in time for Homeland, of course}.

Recipe continued after the jump…







Roast Chicken

Serves 2

Adapted from Barefoot in Paris

  • 2 large yellow onions, cut roughly into quarters
  • 3-4 carrots, cut roughly into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 bulb of fennel, cut roughly into quarters {don’t use fennel fronds}
  • Olive oil
  • 1 {4 to 5-pound} roasting chicken
  • Lavender sea salt {or regular sea salt or Kosher salt}
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • Thyme sprigs {optional}
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 c. dry white wine

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Take the giblets out of the chicken and wash it inside and out.  Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers.  Toss the onions, carrots, fennel and a few thyme sprigs {if desired} with a little olive oil in a medium roasting pan.  Place the chicken on top {breast side up} and sprinkle the inside of the cavity with the salt and pepper.  Place a quartered piece of onion and several sprigs of thyme {if desired} inside the chicken.  Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels, brush with the melted butter, and sprinkle with the Lavender sea salt {or regular sea salt or Kosher salt} and pepper.  Tie the legs together with kitchen string {I had to improvise because I didn’t have any on me, and used the handle of a paper bag that I washed with hot water} and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh {cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken}.  Every 20 minutes or so during the roasting, pour 1/4 c. of white wine over chicken.  When fully cooked, take roasting pan out of oven, remove chicken to a cutting board, and cover chicken with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.



Serves 2

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine {if desired}
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Black pepper {freshly ground}

While chicken is resting {after roasting}, melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, until flour flavor is cooked off and the mixture becomes golden brown.

Take vegetables out of roasting pan.  Place roasting pan over medium heat {on the stove, not the oven} and pour chicken stock and wine {if desired} into pan.  Using a whisk, scrape any brown bits from the bottom and sides of the roasting pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until mixture comes to a light boil.  While whisking, slowly add in the butter mixture.  Cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat, until sauce thickens to desired consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Matt’s Roast Potatoes

Serves 2

  • 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper {freshly ground}

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Boil 8 cups of water in a large pot.  Once it comes to a boil, add potatoes.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes over high heat, until the potatoes crumble slightly when you run a fork over them.  Drain potatoes in a colander.  Add cooked potatoes back to the same pot you boiled them in, cover the pot, and shake the pot vigorously to give the potatoes a “good roughing up”.  Pour melted butter over potatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.  Pour potatoes onto a baking sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown.   Serve warm with gravy.




Thank you so much for reading!

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16 Responses to english roast chicken {by way of provence} and matt’s roast potatoes

  1. Maggie Sause says:

    What a perfect comfort meal… can’t wait to make this!

  2. Gorgeous, when I’m at home we have these every Sunday – chicken, lamb, beef or pork! I’m glad to see you didn’t have Yorkshire puddings with the chicken – that would have been a terrible faux pas!

  3. A. Castro says:

    Brad and I are definitely trying this recipe, it is making my mouth water already as I love potatoes any way I can get them! Curious, how did the lavender salt impact the flavor?

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thanks Anto! You would love these potatoes! I love all kinds of potatoes too, but these are my new favorite. On the lavendar salt – it was somewhat subtle (perhaps because the lavendar salt I purchased is not super powerful), but I liked it. It gave it a taste and fragrance that was unique. Although, I am sure not everyone loves lavender so you may want to try another flavored sea salt (thinking a truffle salt would be divine) or regular sea salt.

  4. daryouchka says:

    Oh yum. Sounds delicious, simple, and yet sophisticated. The lavender touch is quite intriguing!

  5. Anne says:

    What a beautiful bird –this looks absolutely scrumptious! And Matt’s potatoes look simply divine!

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you Anne! It was actually very juicy and succulent. Funny too because I made this the Sunday after Thanksgiving – I guess I wasn’t sick of eating roasted poultry! 🙂

  6. you had me at white wine gravy covered potatoes…this looks so lovely..i will be making this soon…is there really anything better than roast chicken and potatoes…lovely post ..sarah

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you very much Sarah! I used to hate gravy as I associated it with that horrible, gelatinous, corn starch-laden crap that was born in the 60s, but when thickened with a simple butter and flour mixture, and flavored with wine and roasted vegetables, it’s divine.

      • ladyredspecs says:

        I like to fill the cavity of my roast chicken with soft breadcrumbs mixed with herbs and lemon rind and just enough water to bind it all together. It ensures the bird stays moist and succulent and imparts a lovely flavour, one of my all time favs. Glad to see you made a pan juice gravy, a lost art! 😉

      • fleurdeselsf says:

        Yum – that sounds like a fantastic technique! Do you use store bought breadcrumbs or do you tear up leftover pieces of bread? Is it possible to then eat the stuffing after?

  7. Looks lovely. When I have my roast beef and Yorkshire pud I do roast potatoes as well. 🙂 I love roast potatoes with gravy!

  8. Pingback: roasted broccoli and kale salad « { fleur de sel }

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