You may have the “parson’s nose”

In Recipes on February 8, 2011 at 7:16 am

A relative of mine used to positively relish that fatty bit at the back of the roast chicken known as the “parson’s” or “pope’s nose”.  In our house she would be very welcome to it as no-one in my family would touch it with a barge pole.  Everyone at our place likes the breast and it is only recently that I have been able to convince people to try a leg or a bit of thigh meat.  This is frustrating as it often means quite a lot of the bird is wasted.  To stop this waste I now make stock from the left over carcass and the wings, storing it in the freezer in containers until required.

With a roast chicken I always serve plenty of baked vegetables.  These vary according to the season but one constant is potatoes.  There are various schools of thought on how to make the perfect roast potatoes.  Some cooks prefer to par boil the potatoes before roasting but I avoid this as I think it leaches out a lot of the nutrition and most of the flavour.  I find the way to get nice crispy roast potatoes is to use plenty of oil and roast on a high heat on the top shelf of the oven.

The final thing that is essential when making a roast chicken is the stuffing.  This flavours the bird from the inside so it is good to use lots of herbs and a gently fried onion along with a good grind of salt and pepper.

Roast Chicken with Basil, Parsley and Paprika


1 free range or organic chicken (about 1.5 kg)

butter or olive oil

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (you may use ordinary ones if that’s all you have)

2 tbs fresh basil (finely chopped)

2 tbs fresh flat leaved parsley (finely chopped)

1 small brown onion (finely chopped and gently fried until translucent)

1 free range egg

1-2  tsp dried basil

1-2 tsp sweet paprika

freshly ground sea salt and black pepper


Combine breadcrumbs, fresh basil, fresh parsley, fried onion, egg and a couple of good grinds of salt and pepper in a bowl.  Mix well.

Place the chicken on a rack in a large baking dish.  Fill the cavity with the breadcrumb mixture.  Gently loosen the skin on the breast and stuff some small pieces of butter under the skin, rub the whole bird with olive oil (if you wish you can omit the butter but it does help to keep the breast moist).  Season all over with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the dried basil and paprika.  Place on the second shelf of an oven that has been heated to 200 c.  Cook for half an hour, turning once.  Cover with foil and cook for a further half hour.  Turn the chicken  and move it down to the third shelf of the oven.  Cook for a further 45 mins, removing the foil for the final 15 mins.  Remove from oven and pierce the skin between the leg and the breast.  If the juices run clear it is cooked.  Place on a plate and cover again with the foil.  Allow it to rest for at least 15 mins.  Carve and serve.

A buxom bird

Roast Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary


1 kg potatoes

3-4 cloves garlic (crushed 0r finely chopped)

a few sprigs fresh rosemary (roughly chopped)

freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

plenty of oil (I like to use a combination of sunflower and olive oil as the sunflower has a higher heating point resulting in crispier potatoes)

a little butter (optional)


Peel the potatoes and chop them into four pieces depending on size.  Try to make sure all your pieces are of a fairly even size so that they will all cook at the same rate.  Put some oil in a baking dish.  Place the potatoes in it and move them around until they are all coated in the oil.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the garlic and rosemary over the potatoes.  Drizzle over a little more oil and add some small pieces of butter (if using).  Place on the top shelf of a 2oo c oven.  Cook for half an hour, shaking the pan occasionally to make sure none of the potatoes are sticking.  Remove from oven and use tongs to turn all the potatoes over.  Return to oven for a further half hour or until soft when pierced with a fork.

Roast potatoes with garlic and rosemary


Pan gravy is not difficult to make.  Remove chicken and rack from baking dish.  Drain off some of the fat, leaving some to make your roux.  Place pan on a low flame, add a small piece of butter, when melted add a tablespoon of flour.  Stir until you have cooked off the floury taste, usually about one minute.  Gradually add small amounts of chicken stock, stirring all the time.  As the gravy becomes smooth you will be able to add the stock a little faster, keep stirring until you have added 1/2-1 cup stock.  Season really well (gravy loves salt and pepper).  Add any juices from the chicken.  Allow to simmer for five minutes or until you reach your desired consistency.  Pour into a gravy boat.

  1. […] ** see February archives for ‘You may have the parson’s nose‘ […]

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