Roast chicken gets a tasty summer makeover

Lilly Higgins: Chicken is always a crowd-pleaser for lunch or dinner, and this method of self-saucing chicken is amazing

I love using sun-dried tomato pesto, it’s a real shortcut to flavour and so handy to have at hand. You can get jars of this quite easily, and also fresh versions in supermarket fridges. The Happy Pear makes a great tomato pesto. I also love Pestle & Mortar’s red pesto. Made in Galway with Irish-grown basil, it contains red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes for a burst of sunshine and condensed flavour. It’s also easy to make your own with some fresh herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and basil. I like to use toasted sunflower seeds to make pesto, as a more affordable option to pine nuts.

I love to serve this with some seasonal Irish baby potatoes, and it’s delicious with pasta too. The tomatoes melt down with the chicken juices and swirl together in the oven to make the most delicious, jammy gravy. This is the style of effortless cooking I love during the summer months. If I really have to turn the oven on then this is well worth that effort.

It is perfect with all of your favourite salads, and some crusty bread to mop up the sauce. Mash the roast garlic from the cloves on your plate, they are delicious muddled with a little mayonnaise. Leftovers make the most amazing roast chicken sandwiches. If you’re growing your own tomatoes this year, then this is a recipe to save. With so few ingredients, it is important that each component is good, so choose bright red tomatoes on the vine as the sauce relies on them.

Roast chicken is always a crowd-pleaser for lunch or dinner with family and friends, and this method of self-saucing chicken is amazing. It’s also great when you add a teaspoon of garam masala to the cooking tray for the final 10 minutes of cooking time, then scatter fresh coriander on top before serving. Give your Sunday roast a welcome summer update.


Recipe: Summer roast chicken with tomatoes

Lilly’s Kitchen Tips:

  1. It’s worth paying a little extra for a free-range Irish chicken. Use the carcass to make stock in a slow cooker and add a splash of apple cider vinegar to extract maximum nutrients.
  2. Tomato vines are full of flavour. I always add them to a pasta sauce to intensify that tomato flavour. Keep the tomatoes on the vine in this recipe so that herbaceous taste will seep into the sauce. Remove just before serving.
  3. Save your butter wrappers to cover chickens, cakes and meat joints in the oven to prevent them burning. You won’t need to buy tinfoil as much and will be using something you already have. Store folded neatly in the fridge.