James Street Cookery School: Pot roast chicken, polenta and yoghurt cake

Niall McKenna's pot roast chicken, a warming dish that's just made for sharing
Niall McKenna

WITH the season of gluttony well and truly over and the party shoes hung up for, well, at least the month of January, it doesn’t mean that a night in needs to be dull.

Our pot roast chicken is a simple yet delicious meal that's meant for sharing. It's a slowly roasted dish, a succulent, flavoursome meal that doesn’t require slaving over a stove. And by using the leftovers for fajitas the day after and the bones for a nice soup, its works extra hard for you and the family.

The moist, sweet and zesty polenta and yoghurt cake is great for a Sunday dinner. It’s easy to make and can be frozen until needed – perfect for impressing visitors.

Both dishes use ingredients which are easy to source and will warm you up during the winter season.


1 chicken, approx 2kg

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp sweet paprika

sea salt

black pepper

3 onions, peeled and cut into quarters

3 carrots, peeled and cut into quarters

3 large tomatoes cut into quarters

2 red chilis, cut into quarters

2 garlic heads, cut in half horizontally

3 red peppers, deseeded and diced

2 bay leaves

2 thyme sprigs

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

400ml white wine

300g black olives, stoned

rice to serve

Start by preheating the oven to 180C. Put all the vegetable ingredients in a large lidded casserole dish and mix well. Rub the olive oil all over the chicken and sprinkle with the paprika, salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the casserole dish. I always tie the legs and pop all thyme through the legs. Place the lid on the pot and ensure it fits tightly.

Cook in the oven for 90 minutes; remove the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes to crisp the skin. Serve with rice.


This mix should make 1 x 19-inch tin

three eggs plus three egg whites

200g sugar

100g olive oil

70g groundnut oil

340g natural yoghurt

1 lemon, zest and juice

200g instant polenta

100g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

Start by preheating your oven at 160C. Next, in a large bowl beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy and light; add in the olive oil, groundnut oil, yoghurt, zest and juice of lemon and continually beat slowly until thoroughly mixed. The next stage is to add in the polenta, flour and baking powder and again mix thoroughly, mixing slowly.

Pour ingredients into a baking tin, preferably non-stick, and place in oven for 35 minutes until golden. Check thoroughly cooked by checking the centre with a probe (an old-fashioned knitting needle works too). Leave to cool and remove from the tin. Serve at room temperature with yoghurt or ice cream.

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