Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken with Sweet-and-Sour Carrots

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The removal of the wishbone from a bird prior to trussing helps it cook more evenly, makes it much easier to carve when it is cooked and also means that you gain a bit more meat. Savory is used a great deal in Provençal cooking and is a favourite herb of mine. Like a cross between thyme and mint, it can be quite assertive, especially the winter variety, which is very citrusy and should be used with care.

Ingredients

  • 1 best-quality chicken, about 2 kg
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head of garlic, split across in half
  • Sprig of summer savory
  • 1 clove
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Large Knob of butter
  • Splash of olive oil

For the Sweet-and-Sour Carrots

  • 500 g carrots, preferably young, peeled and cut into pieces if large
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 g sugar
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • Sprig of thyme
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

If you like, prepare the chicken for roasting by removing the wishbone and trussing the bird.

Stuff the chicken with the lemon halves, garlic, savory, clove and seasoning. Also season all the outside.

Heat the butter and oil in a roasting pan. Add the chicken sideways on one leg and cook in the preheated oven for 18 minutes. Turn over on to the other leg and cook for another 18 minutes. Baste now and again, but not too often. Finally turn the chicken on its back and finish roasting for another 15 minutes.

At this point, prepare the Sweet-and-sour carrots: lightly colour the carrots in the butter, then add the sugar and cook, tossing, to caramelize them for about 3–5 minutes. Add the vinegar and reduce by two-thirds. Just cover with water (about 500 ml., then add the thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer until the carrots are just tender, about 15–20 minutes. Lift the carrots out and set aside. Boil the cooking liquor to reduce it by two-thirds, place the carrots back in the liquid and serve.

Take the chicken out of the oven, baste and flip it over on to its breast very carefully, without breaking the skin. This will ensure the breast stays lovely and moist by keeping the juices sitting against it. Leave to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place.

Lift the bird from the pan and allow all the juices to run out of it back into the pan. Add a splash of water to the pan, place over a high heat and stir up the residue on the bottom to combine all the flavours together.

Strain this gravy and serve alongside your carved chicken with the carrots.

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