sunday roast, step-by-step guide, recipe

A firm favourite in our household is a Sunday roast. While I love going out for them – and putting the onus for all the washing-up on someone else – more often than not, I make it at home and enjoy the fruits of my labours for a few days with yummy leftovers.

This step-by-step guide to making a roast chicken with all the trimmings is designed to help cooks of all levels with minute-by-minute instructions for how to get all your timings right, as these things do take practice! It’s designed to not need any prior prep – just prep as you go, the timings are designed to take peeling and chopping into account.

Few notes:

– This serves 4 people or 2 nights’ worth for 2 people (including two small plates our 15 month old in our case).
– I used to salt and pepper everything but now we share dinner with the baby so I sometimes pepper things but tend only to add salt once it’s cooked and on my plate.
– I’ve based this on the average person only having a single oven with two racks and where to put what in the oven and when!
– I’ve based the timings on a medium chicken which takes about 1hr 20 minutes but please check your meat is cooked thoroughly and place back in the oven if you think it needs longer, particularly if you have gone for a large chicken.

Everything you’ll need


  • One medium chicken
  • Dash of vegetable oil
  • Few garlic cloves (optional)
  • Half a lemon (optional)
  • Salt & pepper (optional)

Roast Potatoes

  • 1.5 kg Maris Piper potatoes (these are my favourite for roasties but you can use whatever ones you like)
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • Few sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)
  • Salt & pepper (optional)

Roast Vegetables

  • 2 parnsips
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • 1 small turnip
  • Knob of butter (optional)

Cheesy Leeks

  • 2 leeks
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 200ml milk
  • 50g cheddar cheese
  • Salt & pepper (optional)

Braised Red Cabbage

  • 1 small red cabbage
  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper (mandatory!)


  • 300g petit pois or garden peas


  • 1 dessert spoon chicken gravy granules
  • 1 dessert spoon beef gravy granules


Place chicken in an ovenproof roasting dish, slice your garlic cloves and lemon in half (if using) and place in the cavity.

Drizzle your vegetable oil over the skin and rub it in. Season if you wish.

Place in the oven on the top rack at 190°.


Boil the kettle.

Peel, chop and rinse your potatoes. Chop into similar sized pieces somewhere between the size of a golf and tennis ball.


Put in a large pot, cover with the boiled water and bring to the boil.

Prep your roast vegetables – peel the carrots, parsnips and onion. Slice carrots and parnsips diagonally. Quarter the onion. Also peel your turnip and chop into small cubes, set aside in a pan.


Place vegetables in oven proof dish, add the 1 tbsp olive oil and coat with 1 tsp thyme. Place in the oven on the bottom shelf.

Reduce potatoes to a simmer.


Take potatoes off the heat, using the lid to drain, then give them a really vigorous shake in the pot so they look fluffy.

Pour over the 50ml oil and give them another really good “shoogle” (official term).

Place in an roasting tin and place the rosemary sprigs around the dish if you’re using. Ditto the salt & pepper if you want to season.


Put your potatoes in on the top rack.

Baste the chicken (by tipping the dish cavity side down to get the juices running and spooning the oil / juices back over the chicken) and put it back in the oven.

Melt 25g butter in a saucepan on a low heat.

Prep your leeks by removing the outer layer and slice sideways that are approximately 1cm thick.


Add your leeks to the butter and soften them for a few minutes. Add the 25g of plain flour and mix through thoroughly, keeping stirring to evenly coat the leeks and ensure none of the flour burns.


Add 100ml of the milk, to create a thick sauce, continually stirring, then add the remaining 100ml milk. Keep it on the lowest heat setting while you grate your 50g cheese. Once grated, add to the creamy leeks.


Put the cheesy leeks in an ovenproof dish and place in the oven on the bottom rack.

Cover the turnips with the remaining boiled water and bring to the boil.

Shake potatoes.

Baste chicken and place on the bottom rack.

Put your vegetables on the top rack.


Melt 25g butter in a pan (I usually wash and use my potatoes pan for this).

Prep your red cabbage by removing the outermost layer and chopping into ribbons or thin wedges.

Soften the red cabbage in the butter for a few minutes, then add the 2 tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar and fry it off for a further few minutes. It smells really potent when you first add it and you know it’s “burnt off” when the smell is a little less strong!

Add a generous helping of salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat right down and cover with a lid.


Reduce turnips to a strong simmer.


Boil kettle.

Shake potatoes.

Stir cabbage.

Add 1 dessert spoon chicken gravy granules and 1 dessert spoon beef to a measuring jug.


Remove chicken (check cooked in centre*).

Turn up the temperature to 220°.

Stir cabbage.


Put your peas on to “cook” – I say “cook” because peas essentially just need defrosting and overcooked peas are the worst.

Add 300ml boiled water to the gravy granules and then pour the chicken juices in with them.

Stir cabbage.

Heat your gravy boat / jug with the leftover boiled water, then transfer gravy from measuring jug to your gravy boat / jug.

Drain turnip and mash with a knob of butter.


Remove everything from the heat or oven.





Wish you’d made more…

I really hope this is helpful, it’s one of my favourite meals to make and we usually alternate chicken and pork. If it’s useful, let me know and I can do the same for a roast pork!

One thought on “sunday roast, step-by-step guide, recipe

  1. This looks good. I like how you describe the chronology. Getting the timing down on meals like this can be intimidating and frustrating, especially if you’re cooking something for the first time. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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