A simple recipe for lemon and thyme chicken
125g butter (at room temperature)
1.8kg free range chicken
salt and pepper
1 lemon, halved
About 250 ml of good white wine
Several sprigs of thyme or tarragon, or a mixture of the two
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 or 3 mushrooms, sliced very thin
Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius. Smear the butter all over the bird. Put the chicken in a deep roasting tin that will take it and have room to spare. Season generously with salt and paper, and squeeze over the juice of the lemon. Put the herbs and garlic inside the cavity together with the squeezed out lemon halves. This will add a fragrant lemony flavour to the finished dish. Pour the wine and about the same quantity of water around the base of the chicken in the tin. Add the mushrooms to the wine/water mixture.
Roast the chicken in the oven for about 15 minutes. Baste, then turn the oven temperature down to 190 degrees Celsius and roast for a further 30 to 45 minutes with occasional basting.
The bird should be golden brown all over with a crisp skin and have buttery, lemon juices of a nut brown colour in the bottom of the tin.
Turn of the oven, leaving the door ajar, and leave the chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. Whisk the water/wine mix to give the most wonderful “gravy” imaginable.