Inspired by Jamie Oliver.
2 tbs olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
handful of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3 celery sticks
whole garlic bulb
Take the chicken out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes before roasting - it will bring the meat to the room temperature and make the roasting easier.
Preheat the oven to 250 C.
Wash the carrots, there is no need to peel them, just chop them into about inch pieces. Chop the celery stick, peel the onion and quarter, divide garlic into cloves and leave unpeeled. Place all the veg in a roasting dish.
Rub the olive oil into the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
Place the lemon in a microwave for about 10 seconds on the high power, then prick carefully with a knife and put the lemon inside the chicken’s cavity, with the bunch of thyme (save few springs for later) and bay leaves. Place the chicken on the top of the vegetables.
I always place the chicken breast side down first as all the juices will keep this particularly dry part of chicken quite moist when roasting. I turn it over for about lat 30 minutes of roasting.
Place the chicken in the preheated oven and immediately turn the heat down to 200 C. Roast for about 1 hour 30 minutes. If the veg become bit dry and start to burn add few tablespoons of water into a dish.
When cooked, take it out of the oven and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes – you can cover the bird with piece of kitchen foil. Meat tightens up during cooking and resting allows it to relax, release some of the meat juices and results in a soft tender meat.
P.S. If you can manage to eat it all, take the breast meat off the bones or cut out the legs and place in the pan together with all the roasting juices and vegetables. Next day just reheat it over a low heat. The cold leftovers are also great with salads or sandwiches.
In similar way I roast chicken pieces – legs, thighs or drumsticks, but I put some quartered lemon together with a veg, and sometimes add different herbs.