As the weather cools there’s nothing nicer than a roast dinner. This lovely herby chicken is delicious enough for a special occasion, but easy enough for a mid-week dinner.
Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour
1.7 – 1.8kg chicken – try to buy organic or free range
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup chopped fresh herbs – parsely, sage, basil, tarragon...you choose
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 lemon, zest finely grated and cut in half
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 brown onion, cut in half
¼ cup flour
2-3 cups chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 180*C. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel.
In a bowl, combine the butter, fresh herbs, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper. Using your fingers, starting at the neck end, separate the skin from the breast of the chicken, including the tops of the thigh/drumsticks.
Push the butter mixture under the skin and spread it evenly over the breast and tops of the thighs. Place the halved lemon and onion into the cavity of the chicken, along with any herb stalks. Place in a Glad oven bag and into a baking tray in the oven with the breast facing the back of the oven. About half an hour later, spin it around so that the legs/thighs are facing the back.
An hour is a subjective cooking time – depending on your oven, on whether the chicken’s legs are trussed shut, even the size of the baking dish have an impact on cooking time. To check that the chicken is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer and the juices should run clear. Another way to tell is if the leg joint feels loose in its socket, or when the chicken is picked up with tongs by its cavity, the juices run clear. The breast should be golden brown with a lovely layer of herbs underneath the skin.
To make the gravy, remove the chicken from the oven bag and decant any juices into a medium saucepan. Ladle off any excess butter but be sure not to lose any of the cooked golden bits. Using a little water, make a slurry with the flour and whisk it into the saucepan. Add stock a little at a time, stirring until thickened after each addition. The amount of stock you use depends on how thick you like the gravy.
Serve with mashed potato and peas.