Parsley roast chicken

Helstekt persiljekyckling

Parsley roast chicken on a carving board

Roast chicken is wonderful, especially for a leisurely Sunday lunch. It is a tasty meat that nearly everyone likes, including children. The leftovers from a big corn fed chicken can be used as ingredients in a good soup, a tasty salad or a hearty sandwich with a bed of lettuce and tomato slices. In short, roast chicken is practical and affordable home cooking at its best.

One of its many virtues is the fact that chicken is one of the healthiest meats available, having less than half the fat of beef (chicken has about 9.4 g fat per 100 g and about 2.5 g per 100 g of saturated fat). Unfortunately, the natural goodness is often undone when chicken is roasted by being covered in bacon and lots and lots of butter! This recipe keeps the chicken moist and packed with flavour without adding any fat.

Cover of Mannerströms Husmanskonst

I first came across this method of roasting chicken in a book called Mannerströms Husmanskonst (Mannerström's Traditional (Swedish) Home Cooking) by Leif Mannerström, a famous TV chef in Sweden. If you can read Swedish, it is a book that I warmly recommend.

In my adaption I have made three changes to the original, which I list here in case you wish to revert to Leif's version. Leif discarded the lemon after using it to rub the chicken breast, but I pop it into the cavity as I think it improves the flavour of the chicken. Leif also didn't use any aluminium foil and he brushed the breast with a little olive oil before sprinkling the parsley over the breast. I think both help to give a nicer golden colour to the breast, but in my view the flavour is then not quite as good. If you try both, do let me know which you prefer. John Duxbury


Recipe summary for parsley roast chicken


• Obviously for the best flavour, use freshly picked parsley from the garden or allotment, but if you buy a packet of fresh parsley from a supermarket pop it into water as soon as you get it home. It will soon thank you with a big smile and it will keep for much longer.
• For a good Swedish experience, serve the roast chicken, as Leif Mannerström recommends, with potatismos (mashed potatoes), skysås (gravy) and a nice salad with a blue cheese dressing.


1   corn fed chicken, ready for roasting
1   unwaxed lemon
50 g (2 oz) parsley, stalks and finely chopped leaves
1   whole head of garlic
120 ml (½ cup) good quality chicken stock
15 g (½ oz) small bunch of fresh thyme
    salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F, gas 4, fan 160°C).

2. Calculate the cooking time, allowing 50 minutes per kg (23 minutes per lb) plus 25 minutes.

3. Halve the lemon and squeeze some of the lemon juice into the chicken's cavity and then rub the lemon over the breasts.

4. Trim the stalks from the parsley and place in the cavity along with half of the thyme sprigs, the lemon halves and some salt and pepper.

5. Finely chop the remaining thyme leaves.

6. Place the chicken in a roasting tray and sprinkle over the thyme leaves and then season with a little salt and pepper.

7. Cover loosely with aluminium foil and roast, basting with the juices from the chicken after half an hour or when the juices start to run.

8. About 40 minutes or so before the chicken is due to be cooked, remove the foil and pour 120 ml (½ cup) chicken stock over the chicken. Continue roasting, basting every now and again.

9. About 15 minutes before the chicken is due to be cooked, sprinkle the breast with a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped parsley. Continue to roast until thoroughly cooked and the juices run clear. (If using a meat thermometer, it should read 75°C (170°F) when inserted into the thickest part of the meat.)

10. Cover the chicken with foil and leave somewhere warm to rest for at least 15 minutes.

11. Serve in nice thick slices with gravy, mashed potatoes and a green salad with a blue cheese dressing.

Blue cheese dressing

The blue cheese dressing below is wonderful with large bowl of freshly cut salad leaves, but it also tastes good with grilled or barbecued beef or as a dipping sauce for vegetables.

100 g (3½ oz) blue cheese, such as Roquefort
1   clove of garlic
2 tsp   white wine vinegar
2 tbsp   mayonnaise
150 ml (10 tbsp) gräddfil or soured cream
    salt and black pepper
1 tsp   fresh lemon juice

Break the cheese into smaller pieces. Peel and crush the garlic. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until nice a creamy and evenly mixed. Season to taste with a little more salt and pepper or lemon juice if necessary. Add more gräddfil or soured cream if desired.

Gravy flavoured with parsley and shallots

Sliced parsley roast chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes

I like to serve the chicken with a nice shallot and parsley gravy made using the juices left in the pan.

12   shallots, peeled
1 tsp   olive oil
360 ml (1½ cups) chicken stock
4 tbsp   dry white wine
1 tbsp   cornflour (cornstarch), optional
    salt and freshly ground black peper
4 tbsp   finely chopped parsley

Toss the shallots in a little olive oil and add to the roasting tray with the chicken in step 6 above. When the chicken is cooked, drain off any fat from the roasting tray and then gradually stir in the chicken stock and white wine. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for a few minutes. If you want to thicken the gravy, remove the tray from the heat and mix the cornflour with a little water and then stir it into the gravy, stirring to mix thoroughly. Season the gravy to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring back to a gentle simmer and leave to simmer for 5 or 10 minutes whilst you prepare the mashed potatoes and carve the chicken. Just before serving, add the freshly chopped parsley.


The downloads are only for the roast chicken recipe.

printer copy sb  printer version.pdf

Phone-and-tablet-h32  phone & tablet version.pdf

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John Duxbury
Editor and Founder