Roast chicken, the sign of a great Sunday lunch. Golden skin, moist meat and innuendos about whether Dad is a leg or breast man…
This was also an excuse to use one of my birthday presents – a cooking syringe. I was able to inject the lemon and herbs all the way through the meat. If you don’t have one of these, it will still be delicious if you just rub the butter under the skin of the breasts (just not as much fun!). I always get a bigger chicken than I need and use the leftovers for chicken salad lunches during the week.
This is what Sundays is about; a really quick prep with a few good fresh ingredients, then you can bung it in the oven and sit back and relax with a glass of your favourite tipple.
- 1 chicken (about 1.2kg) – as good as you can afford
- Juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 2 whole lemons
- 1 garlic bulb
- 1 large bunch of fresh thyme
- 1 bunch of sage
- 150g salted butter
- Salt & pepper
Let the chicken get up to room temp before you start. Pre heat the oven to 180º.
In a bowl, mix 50g of softened butter with the zest of two lemons, 1 garlic clove and the leaves from a couple of sprigs of time. Leave to one side.
Put a couple of good pinches of salt and cracked black pepper into the cavity of the chicken. Take a lemon and stab it a few times with a fork. Pop the lemon, sage, 8 sprigs of time and 4 garlic cloves (the cloves don’t need to be pealed, just lightly bashed) into the cavity.
Using a spoon, gently lift the skin away from the breasts. Be careful you don’t pierce the skin. Take the butter mixture and spoon this between the gap you have created between the skin and the breast. use your hands to push this as far down the chicken as you can. Spread any left over butter mixture of the top of the chicken.
In a small pan melt 100g of butter and mix with the juice of two lemons, 1 chopped garlic clove and leaves from a couple of sprigs of thyme. Once it is all mixed and melted, use the syringe to inject this mixture into the chicken meat.
Place the chicken in a roasting tin, and pop any left over herbs around it, along with slices of lemon and the rest of the garlic cloves. Pour any left over melted butter over the top of the chicken, cover loosely with tin foil and pop in the oven.
Roast the covered chicken for 1hr 15mins, after this time, remove the foil, baste the chicken and pop back in for about 30-45mins. To check it’s ready, use a meat thermometer or check the juices run clear when you pierce the skin. I always pop the chicken under a hot grill for 5 minutes once cooked, to get the skin nice and crispy.
Let the chicken sit for 10-15mins, covered, before serving.