Pic of Simple roast chicken

Simple roast chicken

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Simple roast chicken

Main Serves 4 1h 35 min
Despite the dictates of tradition, never stuff your chicken with stuffing – it will slow down the cooking, resulting in over cooked breast meat. Roll your stuffing into balls and cook separately. Having said that, half a lemon, half an onion, a sprig of thyme and a couple of cloves of garlic doesn't constitute a stuffing and will allow enough air flow for the bird to cook inside and out.


  • 1 whole chicken
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme
  • oil for roasting or approx. 50g butter, softened
  • small glass of white wine
  • a good mug or so of stock
  • approx. 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • small glug balsamic vinegar
  • cream or crème fraîche, to serve (optional)
  • salt and pepper
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Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 1h 30 min
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. Stuff the garlic, lemon, onion and thyme into the chicken cavity. For crisp golden skin, brush with oil or, better still, softened butter. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven.
  • Step 2

    Allow 20 minutes per 500g + 20 minutes extra cooking time. Baste the bird at least twice during cooking. Check the chicken is cooked through - skewer the thickest part (between the leg and breast) and check the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
  • Step 3

    A traditional flour/ roux based gravy is too heavy for chicken. Far more palatable and interesting is a simple sauce, made by deglazing the chicken pan with a small glass of wine and a good mug or so of stock (you can just use stock), adding the contents of the chicken (garlic, onion, lemon and thyme) and simmering, removing the lemon after a few minutes.
  • Step 4

    Add a little mustard and/or balsamic vinegar for a little piquancy, to taste. Reduce to a 'back of a spoon' coating consistency, check the seasoning and if you like, finish with a little cream (or crème fraîche) for extra richness.

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