1.6kg of free-range organic chicken
1 handful of mixed fresh herbs – rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and sage leaves – tied in a bunch
2 large carrots, halved lengthways
2 large leeks, halved lengthways
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
200ml of white wine
5ml of water
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tsp of plain flour
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the lemon and herb butter:
150g of butter, softened at room temperature
Needles from 2 rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
Leaves from 4 thyme sprigs
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons and juice of 1 lemon – reserve two of the lemon halves
Step 1Preheat the oven to 200°C fan/220°C/gas mark 7.
Step 2Take the chicken and, starting at the neck end, gently ease the skin of the chicken away from the breast, taking care not to tear the delicate skin. Using your fingers, spread three-quarters of the paste as evenly as possible under the skin all over the breast and thighs, then gently pat the skin to even out the paste. Next, fill the chicken cavity with the two reserved lemon halves and bunch of mixed herbs.
Step 3Line a roasting tin with the carrots and leeks and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables – this will prevent the chicken from sticking to the tin. Season the chicken all over with some salt and pepper, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, rubbing well all over. Pour in the wine and water and cover with foil.
Step 4Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C fan/200°C/gas mark 6 and roast the chicken for about 1 hour 30-40 minutes, removing the foil for the last 30 minutes, until cooked through. During cooking, baste the chicken with the juices from time to time.
Step 5Remove the roasting tin from the oven and immediately place the remaining butter on top of the chicken to melt, using a spatula to spread it all over. Carefully remove the chicken and vegetables, place on a board and leave to rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
Step 6In the meantime, make the gravy. Combine the juices left in the roasting tin with the juice of ½ lemon, about 200ml of water and place over a high heat, whisk in the flour and continue mixing until the gravy has thickened slightly. Strain, pour into a jug and serve with the roast chicken and vegetables.