2kg organic or free-range chicken
Extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, quartered
½ bunch of thyme
½ bunch of oregano
Freshly ground pepper
Recipe by Neil Perry
Photography by John Paul Urizar
Styling by Michaela Le Compte
Food Prep by Sarah-Jane Hallet
1. Take the bird out of the refrigerator at least 2 hours before cooking. Cut off the wing tips and neck and pull back the neck flap of skin to reveal the wishbone. Using a sharp paring knife, cut along it and cut down into the spots where it joins the breastplate. Cut through it at these points, then move up to the top where the two ends meet. Cutting gently, carefully pull it out. You should find it comes out quite easily. It is important to remove the wishbone, as it is far easier to carve later.
2. Season the chicken inside with sea salt, stuff with lemon quarters and herbs, whole on the stems, and truss the chicken. Once trussed, you can season the chicken on the outside (alternatively, season the bird the night before). Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Rub the bird all over with extra virgin olive oil and put in a roasting tin large enough to fit it comfortably.
3. Cook for 45 minutes, at this stage the bird should have good colour, remove from the oven and rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
4. Put the bird on a chopping board and cut off the legs. Cut the legs in half by sliding your knife through the middle of the drumstick and thigh. Remove the breasts with the wings attached. Cut in half on the diagonal. The thicker half of the breast should have the wing attached, but will not be quite as long as the other half. To plate, take four large plates and put half a leg on each plate, then half a breast. Remove the lemons, there should be some juices in the bowl you rested the bird in. Squeeze two roasted lemon quarters in and add to it a little extra virgin olive oil and lots of freshly ground pepper, stir and pour some over each serving of chicken. Serve immediately.
I actually like to split the bird down the back and remove the backbone and butterfly it. I usually take 5 minutes off the cooking time, so it’s 40 minutes at 220ºC, as I find the legs cook much more evenly as they are in contact with the roasting dish and they and the breast arrive at doneness together.
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Grenache