Food with JP Passion: Christmas Dinner Tray-bake

Food with JP Passion: Christmas Dinner Tray-bake

This is a fantastic recipe for those who are not catering for many guests on Christmas day or indeed for those who may not be a fan of turkey, as you use a whole large chicken instead.

A foodie I follow on Instagram put up a pic of her version recently and it got me thinking I would love to give it a try this side of Christmas and by golly was I glad I did.

It’s so simply to make, merely a little bit of preparation, then you cook it all in one tray in three short stages – this is to ensure everything cooks evenly and the vegetables get nice and tender and a little bit crisp.

Of course you can use a small turkey crown if you are being traditionalist, but you will need to adjust the cooking times slightly as it will take longer to cook – but don’t worry I’ve got it all covered below for you.

Ingredients

  • 1 large free-range chicken
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 Bag/net of sprouts
  • 6 large Maris Piper potatoes
  • 12 stuffing balls
  • 120g bacon lardons
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive or rapeseed oil

Method:

  1. As with all meat joints, before roasting remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour – preheat your oven to 200°C/390°F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Drizzle the chicken with oil and rub evenly all over the bird. Season with salt and pepper and some fresh thyme and pop into the oven for 45 minutes.
  3. Next peel the potatoes, cut into halves and parboil for about 8 minutes. Then take the lid off and allow them to fluff up and dry out – this will make them lovely and crispy when they roast.
  4. Prepare the carrots into nice bite-size pieces.
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven and place the potatoes and carrots around it. Some of the juices from the chicken will have released into the tray – ensure to baste the potatoes in this liquid and, if needed, sprinkle with a little more oil and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Then pop back into the oven for another 30 minutes.
  6. For the last 45 minutes add in your prepped sprouts, bacon lardons and stuffing balls and put back into the oven. I usually make my stuffing balls for any Sunday roast the night before and leave in the fridge overnight. Use your favourite stuffing recipe or if in a hurry get a good quality shop-bought stuffing and roll into balls.
  7. Remove the chicken, cover and allow to rest for about 15 minutes. Pop the vegetables and stuffing balls back into the oven for a further 10 minutes to crisp up.
  8. Serve with a delicious gravy and enjoy.

You now have Christmas dinner on a plate with only one tray to wash up afterwards – huge bonus.

What’s fantastic also about this simple recipe is all the flavours get time to infuse – especially from the roast chicken – into all of the vegetables and stuffing balls and the smell is only out of this world.

This is also a great way to eat sprouts by roasting them. If you are planning on using a small turkey crown that feeds 4 people around 2kg in weight, I would give this another 12 to 20 minutes in the oven in total.

Easiest way is to cook it for an hour before adding in the next two stages of roasted veg and stuffing balls.

I have a feeling I won’t be waiting for Christmas next year to use this recipe again.

By JP Kennedy.