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Roast chicken is a staple Sunday roast favourite in many homes in the UK. One of the most simple meals, when cooked properly with crisp skin, moist white breast and richer leg, it is a real treat. Don’t limit this feast to Sundays; it is often cheaper to buy the whole bird than individual joints and is much more flavourful.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 6
Brush the chicken with soft butter and season with salt
Cut a lemon in half and stuff the halves into the cavity with a sprig of thyme and clove of garlic crushed with a knife
Put the chicken on to a baking tray and place in the oven
Roast for 20 minutes plus 20 minutes per 500g (for example, a 1.5kg bird would take 1 hour and 20 minutes). To test whether the chicken is cooked, insert a knife into the leg – the juices should run clear
Remove the tray from the oven and cover the bird with foil. Leave to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving
Vary the herbs stuffed inside the chicken; try tarragon, rosemary or oregano.
You could also try rubbing garlic into the skin or sprinkling it with spices such as smoked paprika or black pepper.
For an extra smoky flavour, roast your chicken on the barbecue.
Roast chicken is most commonly associated with Sunday lunch however this need not be the case. Roast chicken is delicious in sandwiches for lunch or with coleslaw and new potatoes for a light summer supper.
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