We’ve been thinking lately about culinary masterpieces that have stood the test of time. Written by the celebrated British chef and food writer Simon Hopkinson, this is more than a cookbook; Roast Chicken and Other Stories is a collection of recipes, essays, and personal anecdotes that capture the essence of British cooking in all its delicious simplicity.
Hopkinson is a quiet legend in the world of food, and Roast Chicken and Other Stories is his most iconic work. The book is a celebration of home cooking, featuring recipes that are accessible, unpretentious, and deeply satisfying. From the perfect roast chicken to the ultimate rice pudding, each dish is a testament to Hopkinson’s skill as a chef and his love of good food.
At the heart of the book is a simple philosophy: that the best food is made with the best ingredients, cooked with care and respect, and served with love. Hopkinson’s recipes are a testament to this philosophy, using seasonal, local ingredients to create dishes that are both familiar and surprising.
This book is small, it barely takes up any space on the shelf, but it is so valuable. Partly for its excellent writing and storytelling, partly for its recipes, but mostly for the roast chicken. If there is a finer roast chicken recipe in existence we don’t know of it.
Here is Simon Hopkinson’s recipe for roast chicken from his book Roast Chicken and Other Stories:
1 whole chicken (approximately 1.5 kg)
2-3 tbsp softened butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Half a lemon
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven to 425. Remove any giblets from inside the chicken and pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
- Spread the softened butter all over the chicken, making sure to cover the legs, wings, and breast. Season the chicken generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze the juice of the half lemon over the chicken and place the lemon halves inside the chicken cavity.
- Place the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up. Scatter the fresh thyme sprigs over the chicken.
- Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the skin starts to turn golden brown.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue roasting for approximately 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving and serving.
This simple yet delicious recipe is a perfect example of Simon Hopkinson’s philosophy of using the best ingredients and cooking them with care and respect. The result is a perfectly cooked roast chicken that is juicy, tender, and full of flavor.