Prep 10 mins, cook time 2hr 40 mins. Serves 6.
- 2kg chicken
- 50g soft butter
- 2tsp fresh thyme (or use 1tsp dried)
- 1 lemon
- 1L chicken stock or stock cube
- 2tbsp flour
- 1tsp Marmite (optional)
Heat oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 2 and put the chicken in a large casserole dish (with lid) or a roasting tin. In a small bowl, mix the butter and thyme and add plenty of seasoning. Grate in the zest from the lemon and mash everything together using a fork. Rub this over the chicken breasts, legs and wings, then push the whole grated lemon into the cavity of the chicken. Pour half the stock into the dish or tin. Cover with the lid or a large sheet of tin foil (or a couple of smaller pieces) to cover the chicken and scrunch together the foil along the edges of the tin so the whole thing is sealed. Put in the oven and roast for 2 hrs.
After 2 hours, remove the lid or foil (recycle or reuse if possible), increase oven to 220°C and roast for another 30 mins. After 30 mins, take the chicken out of the oven and lift it onto a serving dish. Cover with foil and set aside while you make the gravy.
Tip the chicken juices and stock from the tin into a saucepan (or use your tin if suitable) and place over a medium heat on your hob. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the flour and Marmite with a splash of the juices to make a paste. Stir in small amounts of the remaining stock until you reach your preferred gravy consistency, then serve with the chicken.
When the chicken carcass is cool enough to touch, strip all remaining meat from the bones and place in an airtight container to cool completely. Place container in the fridge when cooled. The cooked chicken is now ready for use in meals, salads, soups and sandwiches.