Vegemite Chicken

I had to start off with this. A firm family favorite and the dish I can truly say I inherited from my mother. Whether she invented it or it came from the Australian Women’s Weekly circa 1964, I don’t know. However, it does work! You can also try variations of it – stuff the chicken with sausage meat; squeeze some lemon juice over the chicken and then stuff the lemon in the cavity, Stuff with loads of shallots, garlic and any other mediterranean staples – the sky’s the limit.


1 Chicken – preferably free range and weighing about 2kg

1 heaped teaspoon of Vegemite

2 cloves of garlic and a good handful of outer garlic leaves

Thyme, Rosemary or Herbes de Provence

Salt and Pepper

One teaspoon of Honey

For the Gravy

500ml Good Chicken Stock

1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard

1 teaspoon of Redcurrant Jelly

A good slug of wine – red or white  – whatever you are drinking

1 anchovy filet

1 heaped teaspoon of corn flour


Rinse the chicken in cold water, pat dry in kitchen roll and then smear the vegemite all over the chicken so that it looks like it’s had a bad fake tan treatment. Place in a roasting dish and put the garlic cloves and a good handful of the herbs in the chicken cavity. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes per lb plus 20 mins. 10 minutes before the time is up, drizzle the honey over the chicken and return to the oven. Remove when done, place on a carving tray, cover with silver foil and leave for 30 minutes to rest. This enables the meat to relax and makes the chicken tender.

In the meantime, make the gravy. This is the perfect way of cleaning the roasting dish and ensuring that you have less scrubbing to do!

Put the roasting dish with all the juices and bits from the cooking on a medium light on the stove. Pour the chicken stock into the roasting dish and with a wooden spoon, gently deglaze the bottom of the roasting dish by pushing and loosening the blackened bits and mixing them in to the stock. When this is bubbling and there is nothing stuck to the bottom any more, pour the gravy into a saucepan. There will now be a lot of fat/oil on top of the gravy. Allow this to settle for a few minutes and then, using kitchen roll, soak up the oil and discard. When all the surface oil has gone, add the wine, mustard and redcurrant jelly as well as the anchovy and boil for about 5 -10 minutes. The anchovy has been my not so secret ingredient for years. Nowadays you can buy Umami paste in supermarkets, but the simple anchovy has been doing the job of enhancing those deep, meaty flavours for years. You won’t taste the anchovy, but you will sure as hell miss it when you don’t use it!

Now taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning or add water if required. Then mix the corn flour with a little water to make a very runny and lump free paste. Add this to the gravy to thicken. Serve with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and veggies of your choice.