Slow-roast sticky soy and mandarin chicken

If you have never slow-roasted a chicken before, now is the time. A lower oven temperature, a longer cooking time and a sticky soy-based marinade yields fantastically tender breast meat, juicy thigh meat and dark, lacquered skin. Make sure to use a waxy variety of potato so it can stand up to the long cooking time too.

slow roast soy chicken
Maja Smend


1.7kg whole chicken
8 mandarins
1 tbsp English mustard powder
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
800g small, waxy potatoes (such as Charlotte)
1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
4 spring onions, thinly sliced

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Season the chicken inside and out with fine salt and set aside for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from 6 mandarins (you want 150ml juice in total) into a medium saucepan. Whisk in the mustard powder, soy sauce and sugar. Set over a high heat, bring to the boil and simmer vigorously for about 6 minutes or until reduced by half. Cool for a couple of minutes.
  3. Arrange the potatoes and halved garlic bulb in the base of a large roasting dish. Brush the chicken all over with the marinade, then sit into the dish, spreading the potatoes around the edges as much as you can (so they aren’t covered by the chicken). Spoon over any remaining marinade. Roast for 2 hours 30 minutes, basting the chicken and potatoes in the cooking juices every 45 minutes.
  4. Lift the chicken out of the pan, tilting it to allow any juices to trickle back into the pan. Rest on a plate for 15 minutes. Turn the oven up to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Halve the remaining mandarins, nestle in the pan with the potatoes and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are nicely caramelised.
  5. Carve the chicken, adding any carving juices to the gravy and serve in the roasting dish or on a platter with the potatoes, sprinkled with the spring onions.

TIP Serve with a bowl of steamed greens to accompany. You can also omit the potatoes and serve the chicken sliced and shredded, a bit like crispy Peking duck, with Chinese pancakes and sliced cucumber and spring onions. It makes a fun family meal.

Recipes: Eleanor Maidment. Food styling: Sunil Vijayakar. Styling: Lydia Mcpherson