This is my wife’s all-time favourite dish of all-time, so what better occasion than to treat her than Mother’s Day. For best results, I marinate the chicken overnight so that the flavours of the herbs and lemon permeate the wholle bird.
2.25kg free-range chicken
2 lemons, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
2 springs of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crused
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
Cooking juices from chicken
500ml fresh chicken stock, if available (but some cubes are good)
150ml dry white wine
1 tsp cornflour, mixed with water, to thicken
1. Put 2 halves of lemon, one sprig of rosmary, one sprig of thyme and 1 garlic clove into the cavity of the chicken. Put the stuffed chicken and the rest of the ingredients into a large freezer bag and massage into the bird. Seal and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours. I leave mine overnight.
2. Transfer the chicken to a large roasting tray. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Roast the chicken for 20 mins per 450g, plus 10-20 mins extra at the end. A bird this size will need 1 hr 50 mins to 2 hrs cooking time.
3. Baste the chicken three times during cooking. Ten-2o mins before the end of the cooking time, increase the oven temperature to 220C/gas 7, to ensure a crispy skin.
4. Transfer the chicken from the roasting tray to a plate and cover with tin foil.
5. Over the hob, heat the juices in the roasting tray and de-glaze with the wine, to get all the sticky bits up from the bottom. Add the stock and continue to boil. Reduce by half. Whisk the cornflour mixture into the gravy, reduce to a simmer. Pour into a gravy boat ready to serve.
6. Carve the chicken into eight pieces: 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 halves of breast meat.
7. Serve with fluffy, crispy roast potatoes, glazed carrots and creamed leeks.