This winter warmer - with a genius onion gravy - was created in lockdown and is set to be our winter staple

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A sauce makes a meal. So convinced is chef Nina Parker that she's written an entire cookbook of sauces to jazz up mealtimes.  Saucy: A Cookbook, Only Saucier follows Nina's other releases  Nina: St Tropez  and  Nina: Capri  which featured recipes inspired by France and the Capri coastline.

Nina has cooked for the likes of Stormzy, Russell Brand and Millie Mackintosh and has more than  61,000 Instagram followers  eagerly awaiting her next recipe. Like many of us, she struggled to eat healthily during the various lockdowns and found it trick find inspiration for meals each day while managing a busy workload. This is when the idea for Saucy was born. Here she guides us through her 'lockdown chicken': a recipe created in her kitchen during those long months of isolation.

"I spent lockdown in the Cotswolds with my sister’s family (not too shabby). Every Sunday my brother-in-law, Josh, would make this chicken. He would get a good quality organic chicken and serve it with roast potatoes and puréed carrots. This onion gravy is pure genius!"

Nina Parker's lockdown chicken recipe

Gluten-free, serves four


4 tbsp olive oil

1.7kg whole chicken

Bunch of rosemary

Bunch of thyme

4 white/red onions, thinly sliced

2 lemons, halved

1 whole garlic, broken up but skins left on

130ml red wine

1 large tbsp apricot jam

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp unsalted butter

Salt and pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 190C degrees and prep a large baking tray.

2. Add the chicken into the tray along with the sliced onions and garlic cloves. Stuff the bird’s cavity with thyme, rosemary and lemon. Season generously with salt and pepper then drizzle over the olive oil. Turn the chicken breast-side down and place into the middle of the preheated oven for 50 minutes.

3. Next remove from the oven and carefully turn the chicken breast-side up. Mix the onions around the pan and add a little more olive oil if necessary. Roast for another 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden and the leg feels like it could pull away easily. Next, carefully place the chicken on a large warm serving platter and cover tightly in tin foil to rest.

4. For the onion gravy, add red wine, apricot jam and mustard to the baking tray and mix everything around. Place back into the middle of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes until the alcohol has evaporated and the mixture has reduced. Spoon this mixture into a blender along with a teaspoon of butter and blend until smooth. Serve straight away with the chicken!

5. If serving with roast potatoes, place on a tray in the oven for 45 minutes while the chicken is cooking.