Lemon and White Wine Roast Chicken

This way of roasting chicken was a hit during a Blondes Week (four ex-Time Outer girlfriends) in sunny Spain a couple of summers ago, with me taking over the kitchen. By popular demand, we had what we call wet chicken in my house twice. The chicken is stuffed with rosemary or thyme and the shucks of a lemon squeezed over a butter-rubbed bird. Whatever white wine there is to spare – at least two glasses – is poured over the top. As the crisp-skinned bird rests, the juices are quickly reduced making fabulous gravy. Good with crusty roast or pan-fried potatoes.

Serves 4
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 60 min

1 chicken
1 garlic clove
several sprigs thyme
generous knob of butter
1 lemon
300ml (or more) white wine

Heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Season the chicken cavity with salt and pepper, add cracked, peeled garlic and thyme. Rub butter over the bird, particularly breasts and legs. Place in a fairly snug-fitting roasting tin. Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice over the bird, popping the shucks inside the cavity. Pour over the wine then season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 190C/gas mark 7 and cook for a further 45 minutes or until the juices run clear when a dense part of the thigh is pierced with a sharp knife; you may need an extra 15-30 minutes. Lift onto a warmed plate and rest for 15 minutes before carving. Place the empty pan over direct heat and simmer briskly, stirring constantly as the juices bubble up, reduce and thicken. Pour through a sieve into a jug. Alternatively, for ease of serving, carve the chicken chunkily back into the prepared gravy, swiping the meat through the juices before going to table.