I found this recipe in a magazine once. No idea who it’s by but it’s lovely and is our favourite method of roasting a chicken. On Monday evening we cooked this and ate it lukewarm with a mixed salad in the garden. Normally we eat it with lots of steamed green or runner beans, or cabbage and maybe a small baked sweet potato or some steamed mashed carrots. If you are on a ketogenic eating plan, omit the root vegetables.
For 4, or 2 with lots leftover:
1 organic chicken
2-4 garlic cloves
A pinch of Himalayan or Atlantic Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh tarragon OR 1 dsp dried tarragon or 1 heaped dsp finely chopped fresh rosemary OR 1 large handful of washed thyme sprigs
1 lemon, halved
A heavy-bottomed ovenproof casserole (or pyrex) dish with lid
1. Preheat the oven to 200C(400F, gas mark 6). Discard any giblets inside the chicken.
2. Peel and cut the garlic cloves in half lengthways. Use a sharp pointed knife to make 8 deep slits in the fleshiest parts of the chicken – thighs, breasts – and push the garlic halves well down into these. If you can’t face slitting and pushing garlic into the slits, just peel the garlic and put into the cavity of the bird to eat hot when the whole thing is cooked.
3. Put 1 lemon half inside the bird, smear the upper part of the chicken with olive oil and put into an overproof casserole dish with a lid. Add the second lemon half to the pot. Season with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the tarragon or rosemary, or scatter the thyme over and around the bird. The reason I don’t destalk and chop the thyme is that its a pain and the leaves fall off during cooking anyway. If you are a real garlic fan, as I am, you can scatter any spare unpeeled cloves of garlic into the casserole dish now – they will be delicious squeezed hot from their skins to go with the cooked chicken.
4. Cover with a lid, cook 30-40 mins, then reduce heat to 150C(300F, gas mark 2) and cook for a further hour.
5. Test by sticking a knife into the thigh. If the juices run clear the bird is cooked.
6. Allow the bird to rest on a warm plate for 20 minutes or so after taking it out of the oven. This makes the meat easier to cut, and moister than if you carve straight away. Cook your vegetables or prep your salad while the meat is resting. If this is your evening meal and you are on a ketogenic eating plan or want to lose weight, omit the root vegetables (carrots, potatoes etc.).
7. If you serve this hot, spoon over the herby, lemony juices.