About this recipe:When it comes to a Sunday lunch or special dinner, you can't beat roast chicken. This version, with its fragrant fresh herb stuffing, is simply the best.
1 large, free-range chicken, about 2kg (giblets removed)
1 lemon, cut into quarters
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (such as thyme, sage, parsley or tarragon) or
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp plain flour
300ml giblet stock (or vegetable cooking water)
150ml dry white wine or apple juice
sprigs of fresh herbs
1 lemon, cut into wedges
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Method Prep:30min › Cook:2hr › Ready in:2hr30min
Preheat the oven to 220°C (gas 7). To make the stuffing, gently heat the butter and 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the onion and celery for 10 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat and tip into a bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs, herbs, egg and seasoning, and mix well to bind the mixture together.
Loosely stuff the neck end of the chicken with half the stuffing, pushing it well up inside to make a neat shape. Fold the flap of skin underneath and secure with a small skewer or cocktail stick. Put the lemon quarters in the cavity of the bird and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Put the remaining stuffing in a small, lightly buttered dish and cook for the last 30 minutes of the cooking time.
Place the chicken, breast-side down, on a rack in a roasting tin. Pour about 250ml water under the rack. (This creates steam and helps to keep the bird moist. It will also collect the juices that drip down during cooking and can be used for making the gravy.) Roast for 30 minutes.
Remove the tin from the oven and carefully turn the chicken over so it is now breast-side up. Rub the remaining olive oil over the breast and season. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C (gas 2). Roast the chicken for a further 1 1/2 hours, basting every 20 minutes with the juices in the tin until it is cooked through. (To test, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh –- the juices should run clear.)
Tip the bird up slightly so any lemony juices inside the cavity run into the tin. Remove chicken, cover with foil and allow to stand for 10–15 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, make the gravy. Blend the flour with a little water in a jug to make a paste. Gradually stir in the roasting juices, then pour into a saucepan. Add the stock and wine or apple juice, bring to the boil, stirring until smooth and thickened. Season to taste, then pour into a gravy jug. Place the chicken on a large plate and garnish with fresh herb sprigs and lemon wedges.
Watch our video to see how to make a perfectly roasted chicken every time. Watch now!
If you have the giblets, use them to make a flavoursome stock. Put them in a small pan and cover with water. Add some chopped onion, celery, a few fresh herbs and some seasoning, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, then strain before using.