Garlic, onion and shallots (or a couple of wedges of lemon)
Dry white or red wine
Brandy (or apple juice and stock)
1. Roast the bird with garlic, onion and shallots - they will caramelise with the meat juices to flavour the gravy. Alternatively, add a couple of wedges of lemon with the chicken for a sharper flavour. Bay leaves impart a subtle flavour, too.
2. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven tray and set aside. Cover the meat with foil and leave to rest while making the gravy.
3. Spoon off any excess fat, then place the roasting tin on the hob and heat gently. Add a couple of heaped teaspoons of plain flour (2 teaspoons is enough to thicken about 300ml liquid) and stir into the meat juices, scraping up all the sticky, caramelised meat and onion sediment as you go. Cook for a minute or so until the flour turns golden and thickens, then gradually add red or dry white wine, stock or the cooking water from your vegetables (or a mixture of them all), stirring well and bringing up to the boil before splashing in a little more liquid, until you have the pouring consistency you like. A splash of brandy added at the end gives it a real kick (but remember to boil off the alcohol or it will be bitter). If you prefer not to use alcohol, flavour the gravy with apple juice and chicken stock.
4. Taste and season well. Strain the gravy through a sieve into a clean pan, then return to the boil and serve.