- 1 x 1.6kg free-range chicken
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 3 good sprigs of tarragon, lemon thyme or rosemary
- 1 thick slice of lemon
- 1 clove of garlic, unpeeled but crushed
- 60g butter
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
- 4 small parsnips, peeled
- 4 medium carrots cut into chunks
- 1 glass dry white wine
- 1 tbsp cream
- Set chicken breast-side up and uncovered on a plate in the fridge to let the skin dry a little.
- Preheat oven to 220 C. Wipe chicken inside and out. Remove any giblets and neck and reserve them for making stock for another dish. Season chicken inside and out. Place herbs, lemon slice and garlic in the cavity. Rub half the butter over the breast and legs and put the rest in the cavity. Truss the bird with string if you wish
- Brush the baking dish with oil and place the chicken on its side. Tuck potato chunks, chunks of carrots, young parsnips all around in the empty spaces. Roast for 20 minutes. At the end of this time, carefully turn the chicken to its other side -- avoid tearing the skin -- and roast for a further 20 minutes. Shake the vegetables at the same time.
- Now lower heat to 180 C and turn the chicken breast-side up. Baste with the juices and roast for a further 20 minutes.
- Remove baking dish from the oven and up end the bird so that all juices, herbs, lemon and garlic fall into the baking pan. Place bird and vegetables on a warmed ovenproof dish and keep warm while you make a simple sauce.
- Tip away the fat in the baking dish and place dish over a high heat. Press on the garlic, the lemon and the herbs and allow to sizzle for a minute, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon. Add a glass of wine and stir some more. When the juices are bubbling strongly, stir in the cream. Strain this sauce into a small pan.
- Joint the chicken to make self-service easier. Remove the legs and the wings, and cut the breast meat into chunks. Pour the sauce over and take the platter proudly to the table.
Note: It may be easier for a first-time chicken cook to buy portions of free-range chicken. In which case the total cooking time, with one turn halfway through, would be more like 45 minutes.