Provencal roasted chicken with honey and thyme

  • For the chicken
  • 1 (1.35kg to 1.8kg) chicken, excess fat trimmed and giblets removed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, zested in large strips
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • For the sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp minced shallot
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 8.

For the chicken:

1) Season the chicken cavity with salt and pepper, to taste. Stuff the chicken cavity with the shallot, half the thyme, and lemon zest.

2) Set a v-rack or regular rack in a roasting pan, and brush chicken with a bit of the olive oil. Whisk the honey and remaining oil in a small bowl. Dip the remaining thyme in the mixture and use it to brush the chicken all over with the honey mixture.

3) Season the outside of the bird with salt and pepper, to taste. Tuck the wings under the back, cross the legs, and tie them with kitchen string. Place the chicken breast side down on the rack and roast until the back is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes.

4) Remove the pan from the oven and turn the chicken breast side up. Cut the string where it holds the legs together and open up the legs a bit. Baste the chicken with the pan drippings, using the thyme sprigs as a brush.

5) Return the chicken to the oven and roast again until the breast is golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 78C, 20 to 25 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a carving board, and let it rest 10 minutes before carving.

For the sauce:

1) Remove the rack from the roasting pan. Put the pan over medium-high heat, add the water, and stir with a wooden spoon to release the brown bits that cling to the pan.

2) Strain the pan drippings into a small bowl and spoon off the fat. Whisk in the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, shallot, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.

3) Carve the chicken, drizzle with sauce and serve.

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