The Empress of India’s roast chicken with bread sauce and stuffing

  • serves 2
  • Easy

Roast chicken with bread sauce and stuffing is an all time classic. The Empress of India’s modern twist on the dish will elevate a Sunday lunch into a special occasion, with rich bread sauce and herby chestnut stuffing.



  • free-range chicken 1, about 1.4 kg (The Empress uses Devonshire Bronze)
  • butter softened
  • lemon a squeeze of juice

sage and chestnut stuffing

  • onion 1, finely chopped
  • thyme  leaves picked and chopped to make 1 tsp
  • sage chopped to make 1 tsp
  • butter 50g
  • cooked peeled chestnuts 100g, chopped
  • chicken stock fresh, cube or concentrate made up to 75ml
  • fresh breadcrumbs a couple of handfuls

bread sauce

  • milk 300ml
  • thyme 1 sprig
  • bay leaves 2
  • white peppercorns 6
  • cloves 6
  • onion ¼
  • carrot ½
  • nutmeg freshly grated, a pinch
  • fresh breadcrumbs 100g
  • double cream a dash


  • Step 1

    To make the stuffing, gently cook the onion, thyme and sage in the butter until soft but not coloured. Add the chestnuts and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add enough breadcrumbs for the mixture to bind together and become thick. Cool and set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Heat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6. Stuff the chicken under the skin at the neck, using string or cocktail sticks to keep it in place. Rub soft butter all over and give it a squeeze of lemon juice. Put on a rack over a roasting tray containing a little water and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4 and cook for a further 40 minutes or until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer. Rest the chicken under foil for 20 minutes.

  • Step 3

    To make the bread sauce, put the milk in a pan with all the ingredients except the breadcrumbs and cream. Leave on a low heat to infuse for 20 minutes, then sieve. About 5 minutes before you serve the chicken, bring the milk to a simmer and whisk in the fresh breadcrumbs until the sauce thickens, then add a dash of cream to give a smooth texture.

  • Step 4

    Serve the chicken, stuffing and sauce with your favourite vegetables. The Empress serves this with braised red cabbage, cauliflower cheese, roast potatoes and pigs in blankets.