Recipe by Christian Gott
Nothing says spring to me like a plump freshly roasted chicken. Try to get the best chicken you can find, free-range or cornfed for the best results, and in just over an hour you will have a fabulous roast on your table. The secret is salting overnight which is a real flavour booster. Serve with Jersey royals and a crisp green salad.
1 large free-range chicken (1.6 -2kg)
4 slices of streaky bacon
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
3 carrots, peeled and halved
1 lemon, cut in half
60g soft butter
A small bunch of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. The day before you intend to cook the chicken, sprinkle it inside and out with the salt. Place in a deep dish, cover with cling film, and store in the bottom of your fridge. When you are ready to cook, start by removing the chicken from the fridge and with some kitchen paper brush off any excess salt. Place the lemon, garlic, and half of the thyme inside the chicken cavity. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature for about an hour.
2. Preheat your oven to 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5. Place the onion, carrots, bay leaves, and thyme into a deep sided roasting tray and place the chicken on top. Dab the butter all over the chicken and cover with a generous grind of black pepper, then lay the bacon over the chicken breasts. Carefully place in the oven and cook for one hour ten minutes. Baste the bird with any roasting juices a couple of times during cooking.
3. Carefully remove from the oven, the chicken should be golden brown and when you stick a knife in the flesh between the leg and the breast the juices should be clear. Place the chicken on a plate or dish, cover with foil and rest in a warm place whilst you prepare the potatoes and salad. Do not be concerned about how quickly this has taken, the chicken will finish cooking as it rests. Carve when ready.