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Super-moist roast chicken with lemon and thyme


Serves: 4-6
timePrep time: 20 mins
timeTotal time:
Super-moist roast chicken with lemon and thyme
Recipe photograph by Tara Fisher

Super-moist roast chicken with lemon and thyme

Extra-juicy meat plus crispy skin - this recipe uses dry brining and could change your whole approach to Sunday lunch

Serves: 4-6
timePrep time: 20 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)
Calories
394Kcal
Fat
16gr
Saturates
4gr
Carbs
0gr
Sugars
0gr
Fibre
0gr
Protein
62gr
Salt
4gr

Anna Glover

Anna Glover

Anna is our former Creative Food Editor, and a cookery writer and food stylist. She loves a challenge and is known for whipping up interesting flavour combinations. She’s still in search of the best pizza in the world 
See more of Anna Glover’s recipes
Anna Glover

Anna Glover

Anna is our former Creative Food Editor, and a cookery writer and food stylist. She loves a challenge and is known for whipping up interesting flavour combinations. She’s still in search of the best pizza in the world 
See more of Anna Glover’s recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon, then cut in half
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 1.77kg-2.2kg)
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil

Step by step

Get ahead
Dry-brine the chicken the day before you cook it, but no further ahead than that.
  1. Put the peppercorns in a mortar and bash with a pestle until crushed. Stir in the salt, thyme and lemon zest.
  2. Remove all the packaging from the bird (make a note of its weight) and untie any string. Rub the salt mix into the chicken, inside and out, rubbing it in well with your hands. Put the chicken on a wire rack over a tray or roasting tin and place, uncovered, in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. Some salt mix may fall off, but just sprinkle it back on while it's sitting on the tray.
  3. Heat the oven to 240°C, fan 220°C, gas 9. Pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper, rubbing off the salt mixture, and discard any liquid in the dish underneath.
  4. Rub the olive oil all over the bird, then add the lemon halves to the cavity. You can tie the bird up again for presentation if you wish. Put in a roasting tray and cook for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4 and cook for another 45 minutes-1 hour (depending on weight). Don’t baste the chicken as this would soften up the crisp skin. Check the chicken is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices come out clear, it’s ready. If it’s pink, put it back in for another 15 minutes.
  5. Leave to rest uncovered for 20 minutes while you make gravy from the roasting juices and warm some plates to serve it on.
    Tip
    Dry brining
    Applying salt directly to meat draws out water, helping to intensify the flavour and the skin to crisp up. It also alters the protein structure in the meat, meaning it stays juicier when cooked. For best results, brine for up to 24 hours, depending on the amount of meat you have. This technique works brilliantly on chicken (brine for about 24 hours), beef steaks (1-2 hours) and pork belly (3-4 hours for perfect crackling).

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