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Ultimate roast chicken

Serves: 4-5
timePrep time: 25 mins
timeTotal time:
Ultimate roast chicken
Recipe photograph by Kris Kirkham

Ultimate roast chicken

Chef Margot Henderson shares her recipe for roast chicken. She says: 'A simple roast chicken is one of my all-time favourite dishes. If it comes wrapped in plastic, it’s best to take it out as soon as possible and cover it in paper instead. I like the bird to be dry as possible, for the crispiest skin'

Serves: 4-5
timePrep time: 25 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)


  • 1 Taste the Difference free-range whole chicken, about 1.7kg
  • 1 garlic bulb, unpeeled, halved horizontally
  • 1 lemon, halved, plus a squeeze for the gravy
  • a handful of thyme sprigs
  • 5 fresh bay leaves
  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • about 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 100ml white wine
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • about 400ml fresh chicken stock

Step by step

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Fill the chicken cavity with half a bulb of garlic, half a lemon and the herbs. Season all over with flaky salt and black pepper.
  2. Pack the butter under the skin on the breast and legs. Place the chicken in a roasting tin, drizzle the oil over the skin, squeeze over the other lemon half and maybe season a bit more. Tuck the other half of the garlic bulb in, too.
  3. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4 and roast for a further 45 minutes. Check the bird is cooked by spearing between the leg and the breast with a skewer and if any pinkness appears, carry on cooking. Once cooked, leave to rest for 15 minutes; prop the bird up to let the juices run out.
  4. Pour the juices from the roasting tin into a jug and skim off as much of the fat as is practical. Pour the white wine into the roasting tin and stir to release all the lovely sticky bits from the bottom. Scrape into a saucepan and add the roasting juices. Whisk in the plain flour and cook for a minute, then gradually whisk in the chicken stock to your preferred thickness. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste.
  5. To serve, joint the bird into about 10 pieces and place on a platter, then pour the gravy over the meat.

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