Clementine and Thyme Roast Chicken 

I haven’t given you a roast chicken recipe in awhile but it’s time for a nice seasonal one. I got a lovely chicken at the butcher, which cost about £6, but it was so much better than the ones they flog in the supermarket. And being from the butcher, I feel a bit happier trusting it for stock. So really it gives you better value for money. You can of course use whatever type of chicken you’d like to – I just thought I should explain why mine looks a bit scrawny!

The clementines look a bit creepy under the skin, but it’s a great way to make the chicken self-basting without using butter when you’re thinking of your waistline and cholesterol.

 
You will need: 

1 chicken 

1 onion

1 leek

1 carrot

4 cloves garlic

2 clementines 

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

A drizzle of olive oil 

  

1. Prepare your oven by heating to 200c fan. Then grab a deep roasting tray and line  it with foil. I like to use one piece for each side, wrapping it around the side of the tray, then another piece flat against the middle so none of the roasting juices escape. 
2. Cut the vegetables and half of one of the clementines into large chunks and place on the tray, along with the garlic. 

  
3. My best roasting tray has a rack, so I’ll be using that, but if you don’t have one, just plonk the chicken on top of the veg.

  
4. Slice the remaining clementine. If you’re using s larger chicken, it would be better to use two thinner slices on each breast, but mine sliced quite thickly due to be using a crappy blunt knife. To get under the skin, lift up the loose skin at the bottom there and put your hand inside. Then you have to gently push your fingers between the skin and the breast, and keep pushing upwards until the skin separates. You have to do this separately on each side. Then squeeze the clementine slices up there. 

  
5. Put the chicken on the tray, add the fresh thyme, season then drizzle on some oil. Shove it in the oven for around 10 minutes, then turn and turn down the temperature to 180c. Cook for a further 10 minutes before covering the tray in foil. Again, I like to use two pieces to make sure the tray us completely covered, overlapping in the middle. 

I like to turn the tray again about 40 minutes from the end but that’s not strictly necessary. 

The cooking time will depend on the bird. Generally, you should allow 20 minutes per 450g plus another 20 minutes getting the bird warmed up. Setting a timer works best for me. 

  
Pull her out of the oven and allow to rest before carving. If you want to make a gravy, immediately move the bird and vegetables into the lid piece of tin foil or a plate, then pour the cooking juices from the tray into a ramekin or small bowl. If you’re eating soon, pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes, or just leave out to cool then pop in the fridge if you’re cooking ahead or if you want to save the stock for something else. This will separate the stock from the fat, so much so that you can just spoon off the fat and discard it, being left with a lovely jelly stock to melt down. 

Stock recipe using the chicken carcass and skin to follow later this week…no wastage! 

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