Roast Chicken with Lemon, Tarragon and Garlic
'I could cook chicken a different way each night for a long time without becoming bored, and I am never unmoved by the sight of a roasted chicken. ... I remember when a large, home-reared roasted bird was an absolute treat for Sunday lunch. We held our breath as it was brought to the table'. Stephanie Alexander, The Cook's Companion.
Hear, hear, Stephanie! Roast bird to my mind equals good, simple, honest food. I, too, love a roast chicken and this receipt, adapted from Delia Smith's 'Fast Roast Chicken' in one of her cookery books, is among my favourites. The key ingredients are a fresh, free range, grain fed chicken; good quality EVOO and butter; fresh tarragon, lemon and garlic; and a little sea salt and pepper. No need to fuss too much, just follow the instructions to a beautifully roasted, succulent, flavoursome bird.
ROAST CHICKEN WITH LEMON, TARRAGON AND GARLIC*
1 x whole free range, grain-fed chicken (1.5kg)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
25g good quality butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon good EVOO
sea salt and ground white pepper, to taste
kitchen twine to truss the bird
Accompaniments:potatoes, sweet potato, carrot, pumpkin, baby beets, parsnip or other vegetables of your choice and plenty of steamed greens.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Make the tarragon and garlic butter, by combining the chopped tarragon and garlic into a small bowl and combine until smooth.
Rinse the chicken briefly under cold water, drain well and pat it dry with paper towelling. Remove and discard the dry flaky skin near the knee joints and trim away any excess fat. Pop the bird into a lined roasting tin. Carefully place some of the herb butter under the skin on the breast area. Spread the remaining butter into the cavity. Stuff the cavity with the lemon slices. Truss by tying the legs together and tuck the wings under the body of the bird. Lightly drizzle over the olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper.
Roast for about 11/2 hours until the chicken is nicely browned. (Allow 45 mins per kg). Add the vegetables to the pan after the first 30 minutes has passed. Baste the chicken with any lemony, garlicky pan juices, carve and serve. This recipe will feed four to six.
Note: *I prefer not to use the wine and lemon juice sauce at the finish. I feel the chicken is quite succulent without any additions.
Tell me, how do you like to roast your chicken? Do you have fond memories of the Sunday roast?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.