Speedy Roast Chicken

Speedy Roast Chicken

It was our last day in the holiday cottage, which meant supper needed to include all perishables left in our fridge (I hate waste!) The plan was to do a roast chicken; one of our weekly favourites that doesn’t require a lot of thought and effort. We didn’t get home from our fun and adventures until after 5:00, and I realised that roast chicken was never going to happen before the kids’ bedtime. My husband suggested that we joint the chicken to help shorten the cooking time. He’s quite clever in the kitchen, really. Why doesn’t he cook more often? I need to investigate this.

Jointing a chicken isn’t too difficult, but not for the easily queasy. It involves bending limbs in awkward positions and popping joints out, but it’s worth it, honestly! Search for a video to help guide you through it. To start, pull the leg out to the side as far as possible and make a cut near the joint. Don’t try to hack your way through the bone; it should just pop out with a bit of gentle coaxing as you bend it and cut through the skin. Use the same technique on the wing, then repeat on the other side. Remove the breast meat, cutting as close to the bone as you can. I keep the carcass for soup stock – just pop it in a bag and stick it in the freezer until you’re ready to make the stock. It’s so much cheaper to cut up the portions yourself, but of course if it’s not your cup of tea, just use chicken pieces (preferably on the bone with the skin on, to add as much flavour as possible and to keep the chicken nice and moist.)

I stuck my head in the fridge and grabbed things that I thought would taste good with chicken. As with most recipes I use, you can substitute most of the ingredients with whatever you happen to have on hand. Don’t have lemon? Use an orange. Don’t have olives? Use capers. Don’t have cherry tomatoes? Use tomatoes from a tin. Have herbs? Chuck ‘em in. Don’t have prosciutto? Use bacon. Everything is better with bacon. Fact.

One chicken fed all five of us very comfortably. If we hadn’t eaten all the potatoes the night before, I would have chopped up a few and added them to the tin, too. I used prosecco because I had some left over from my birthday (I know, I know – this NEVER normally happens), but any nice white wine will work or you can use some stock instead.

Speedy Roast Chicken with Prosciutto and Olives


  • 1 whole chicken, jointed
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • ½  bulb of garlic (leave the skin on)
  • Handful of olives
  • Splash of white wine, prosecco, or stock
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 10 slices prosciutto ham
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 200C/400 F

Joint the chicken and add to a large roasting tin with the olive oil, olives, garlic cloves, lemon, wine, and tomatoes.

Drizzle the chicken with balsamic and season with salt and pepper.

Tuck the proscuitto around the chicken, making sure not to cover it so that it gets nice and crisp in the oven.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.

Reduce the cooking time by around 5-10 minutes if you’re using boneless chicken portions.


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  1. Julie Crooks
    April 13, 14:11 Reply

    Sounds delicious although I am way too queasy to pop joints & I shudder at the thought. Am impressed you had those any of those ingredients with you on holiday although I’m guessing garlic was easy to come by where you were staying. I am a great advocate for chucking in anything from the fridge that vaguely resembles the original ingredients list.

  2. Lisa Durbin
    April 13, 14:44 Reply

    It does all sound like rather posh fridge ingredients, doesn’t it? We had the meat, tomatoes, olives, and balsamic vinegar leftover from lunches (salads for Paul and I) – and the lemon for my G&Ts. 😉 One of the things I really love about chicken is that it can cope with pretty much any vegetable, herb, and aromatic.

    And after 15 years of being a vegetarian, I’m amazed that I don’t get freaked out about dislocating chicken limbs.

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