I have fallen out with our chickens. They may lay the most beautiful eggs but I am starting to think if that is enough. The two feathered thugs have eaten all the lettuce I have sown, picked their way through the kale I was growing for my daily green smoothie and have now taken to wandering into the kitchen and using my favourite rug as their private and stylish loo. While chasing them out of the house for the third time this morning it has crossed my mind whether roast chicken might be the way to go.
With that in mind here is my current favourite roast chicken recipe…
Roast chicken with preserved lemon from Yotam Ottolenghi
70g unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp thyme leaves 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 small preserved lemon, pips discarded, flesh and skin roughly chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1½ tbsp juice, to drizzle
Flaky sea salt and black pepper
1.5kg free-range chicken
Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Put the butter, thyme, garlic, preserved lemon, lemon zest, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper in a food processor. Blitz, then set aside while you tackle the bird.
With the chicken’s legs pointing towards you, use your hands to loosen the skin from the breasts. Spread most of the butter mixture evenly over the breasts, under the skin, then smear the remaining butter over the legs. Put the chicken in a medium-sized, high-sided baking tray, drizzle with the lemon juice and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper.
Roast for about 70 minutes, basting every 15 minutes or so, until the skin is golden-brown and crisp, and the juices run clear (stick the tip of a sharp knife into the thickest part of the thigh to check; if the juices are still a little pink, just give the bird five to 10 minutes more cooking).
Remove from the oven, leave to rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve.