Roast chicken with butter and thyme

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Everyone loves roast chicken! Cripsy skin, moist juicy meat – you cant really ask for more.

Roasting a chicken is not as scary as some people think, as long as you know a few tips before cooking it, its as simple as can be.

Top tip – choose the best chicken you can afford. The value ranges are usually pumped full of water, which runs away when cooking and results in dry meat with wrinkly skin. Yuk. Go for a slightly smaller one if you need to, free range or at least higher welfare birds are the best. And if you are feeling flush go for an organic, free range corn fed, you really will notice the difference.


1 chicken
1/2 bunch fresh thyme – lemon thyme works very well too – leaves picked and chopped
5 garlic cloves
100g butter, softened
1 Lemon
1 onion – chopped into large chunks
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 190.

Take your chicken out of its wrapping and undo any strings holding it together. By opening the bird up like this you will allow the heat to circulate inside the cavity and cook quicker and more evenly. Crush or grate a garlic clove into the butter, add the thyme and mix well, season with salt and pepper.

This butter is going to make the chicken taste amazing and create some gorgeous juices that will keep the breast moist. You need to get your hands dirty now, lift the skin from the breast and work your fingers in between the meat and the skin gently, creating pockets under the skin on each breast. Try not to break the skin when doing this but if you do, its not the end of the world.

Push about 2/3 of the butter into the pockets, spreading it out as much as you can, leaving a layer of herby butter under the skin across the top of the bird. Spread the rest of the butter over the legs and some on the outside of the breast too. Season with salt and pepper. 

Cut the lemon in half and place one half inside the bird. Add the other 4 garlic cloves and then place onion pieces into a roasting tray. Plonk the chicken on top of the onion. Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges and place around the chicken. Now just pop it in the oven!

Roasting times vary by size but a medium chicken will take around an hour and a half. You will know its cooked through when you can pierce the skin on the thigh of the chicken and the juices run out clear. I will post a recipe for gravy using the onion and lemon pieces another day. 

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Leave the chicken to rest. Place it on a plate, cover with foil and just leave it for at least 15-20 minutes. I often leave it while I’m doing the roast potatoes, which can be up to an hour. It will be fine. It will benefit from being left alone. Trust me.


Roast Chicken with Butter and thyme

One thought on “Roast chicken with butter and thyme

    Spiced Chicken Wings | Daily Gluttony said:
    September 27, 2013 at 4:59 am

    […] Roast chicken with butter and thyme ( […]

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