Tag Archives: Thyme

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! 

Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken

So last week I had a hell of a hankering for chicken Caesar salad. I decided, therefore, that with the great spring weather we’ve been having, it might be time to make salad for weekday lunches. The most cost-efficient way, it seems, to get a good batch of cooked chicken ready for the fridge, which can then be used with various different meals. I always prefer the brown meat on a chicken for eating cold so I figured a whole chicken would be the best way to go. 

  

You will need:

1 medium to large chicken

A good sized knob of butter

2 lemons

1 onion

4 or 5 cloves of garlic

Salt

Pepper

Paprika

Thyme

Parsley

1. Take your chicken out of the fridge around an hour before you’re ready to cook it. Half an hour if it’s a hot day. This helps it get to room temperature before cooking so it doesn’t get too much of a shock when you put it in the oven and to make sure your cooking times are as accurate as possible. 

2. After about 40 minutes, preheat the oven to 200C and start to prepare your bird for the oven. Pull off your garlic cloves and clean off the worst of the papery skin. Line a roasting tray with foil and skatter the garlic around, bearing in mind that it’s to end up sitting around where the chicken will eventually sit. Chop the onion into sixths or eighths and skatter that around as well, keeping one piece to the side for the cavity. 

3. Grate the zest of one of the lemons and place it in a small bowl or ramekin. Half one of the lemons and place it inside the cavity along with the last piece of onion. Quarter the other lemon and place around the side of the tray.

4. Add the seasoning and herbs to the lemon and add in the knob of butter. Carefully mash this around with a fork to distribute the flavourings throughout the butter. 

  

5. Opposite to the cavity, you will find loose skin feed under the bird inside the trussing string. Carefully loosen this out and open it up. Stick your hand inside and carefully separate the skin from the flesh at both sides of the breast with your fingers. You want to loosen this as far as you can fit your hand in, without tearing the skin. 

6. Take small amounts of the butter mixture and slide it under the skin at both sides, carefully massaging it up the way through the skin to try to cover the breast, reserving a small amount to rub on the outside. Tuck the skin back into the string and underneath the bird and rub the remaining butter all over the breast and legs. Toss over some more thyme and parsley.

  

7. Put in the centre of the preheated oven and immediately turn it down to 190C. Cook for 20 minutes then take it out of the oven, turn, and cover the breasts with tin foil. Cook for a further 20 minutes per lb, turning again halfway through before covering the whole tray with foil. 

8. Once your timer is up, remove from the oven and allow to rest. If you’re not confident it is fully cooked, stick a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and ensure the juices run clear. If not, put back in the oven until they do when tested again. Carve if serving, or allow to cool a bit more before carving and picking the carcass. 

9. The cooking juices can be used to make a gravy or stock, but i drizzled them over the chicken to help it keep moist and full of flavour. Enjoy!