Thomasina Mier’s Roast chicken with lemon, caramelised garlic and thyme
Who says you can only have a roast on Sundays? This is Thomasina Mier’s ultimate roast chicken which is her fallback when she’s suddenly expected to feed a mass of people but have no time to shop.
If you don’t have the time, cut the bird in half as this will cut the cooking time as well. But if you can stick around for about an hour, don’t go for the shorter version, it is worth the wait.
FOR THE CHICKEN
8 sprigs thyme
4 bay leaves
2 onions, peeled and halved
5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
FOR THE POTATOES
1kg baby new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
5 garlic cloves
1 handful fresh thyme sprigs
4 tablespoons olive oil
FOR THE GRAVY
½ chicken stock cube
1 tablespoon plain flour
150ml dry white wine
Prepare all your ingredients.
If you are not pressured for time, keep the chicken whole and follow the rest of the instructions, if not: cut the chicken in half, season and add the lemon to the baking dish; cut the potatoes in quarters. This will half the cooking time.
Heat the oven to its highest setting. Rub the chicken with the oil and season generously (inside and outside), then stuff it with the lemon, half the herbs and half an onion. Roughly slice the rest of the onions, spread them over the base of a roasting tray, then scatter over the garlic and the remaining herbs.
Pull the legs slightly away from the body, then sit the chicken breast side down on top of the onions and transfer to the oven. Immediately turn down the heat to 190C and cook for about 50 minutes. The chicken is cooked when the juices from the thickest part of the thigh runs clear when pierced with a skewer (if in doubt, cut the thigh away from the body to see if it is cooked in that crevice). For the most succulent meat, it’s essential to rest the bird in a warm place, covered in foil, for 15 minutes while you make the gravy.
When the chicken is in the oven, pop the potatoes into a large baking tray with the garlic and herbs, pour over the oil, season well and give everything a good toss. Roast in the same oven as the chicken, stirring occasionally and adding a little oil if they look a bit dry. They will be crisp and golden in about an hour.
For the gravy, skim off most of the fat from the chicken tray, leaving only a few tablespoons behind, then put the tray on the hob over a medium heat. Crumble in the stock cube and whisk in the flour, and leave to bubble for a few minutes, to cook out the raw flavor in the flour. Pour in the wine a little at a time, letting it bubble for a minute between each addition, then boil for a few moments before adding enough boiling water to thin the mix to your desired consistency (anything between 200ml and 400ml, depending on how thick you like your gravy). Simmer for five to 10 minutes, and check for seasoning;
Pick out and discard the herbs but save the delicious onions and garlic to serve with the chicken. Carve the bird and dish up.