Pot-roasted chicken and root vegetables

I cooked this based on a recipe from Slimming World, believe it or not, adapted to my own tastes and what I had available. It will be appreciated by slimmers and non-slimmers alike. The vegetables become meltingly soft and sweet, imbued with the flavour of the stock. Very easy when you have guests too, because you can just put it in the oven an hour before the meal and leave it to cook. I added roast spuds for a complete meal, followed by a crisp, simple green salad.

Use whatever root vegetables you like for this. Squash, parsnip, swede could also be used.

For 4:

1 chicken
8 shallots
3 large carrots
3-4 turnips
10 garlic cloves
fresh herbs of your choice (I used a couple of sprigs of rosemary)
1/2 lemon
2 tsp runny honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
200 ml chicken stock (a cube is OK)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Peel carrots and turnips and cut them into chunks of about 2 cm. Peel the shallots, keeping them whole unless they are very large, in which case you can halve them lengthways. Don’t peel the garlic; just pull off any loose papery skin.

Put all the vegetables except the garlic in a heavy casserole with a lid, big enough to take the chicken. Drizzle over the honey and olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and use your hands to toss the vegetables so that they are well coated. Put in the oven, uncovered, to start roasting while you prepare the chicken.

Put half a lemon, a sprig or two of herbs, and a bay leaf inside the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Once the veg have roasted for 15 minutes, take the dish out of the oven and add garlic cloves, the rest of the herbs, a bay leaf, the cinnamon, and the fennel seeds. Put the chicken on top and pour over the chicken stock. Cover and return to the oven for about an hour, depending on how big your chicken is. Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes to brown the chicken. The stock will have reduced and soaked into the vegetables, forming a syrupy sauce.

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