Roast chicken

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Roast chicken cooked in this way does not require a traditional gravy. It is succulent and tender and just right the way it is. I prefer instead to serve it with a jus by deglazing the pan with a little white wine and reducing it slightly.

50g/2oz unsalted butter, softened
4 good-quality anchovies in oil
1 small bunch of marjoram, leaves only, roughly chopped
1 unwaxed lemon
11/2kg/3lb free-range, organic chicken
3 fresh bay leaves
1 dried red chilli
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Start by heating the oven to 200C/400F/ Gas6. Place the soft butter into a bowl, finely chop the anchovies and add to the butter along with the chopped marjoram. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze a little of the juice into the butter mixture. Stir together really well using a wooden spoon.

Using your fingers, gently separate the chicken's skin from its flesh. Spoon the flavoured butter under the skin. Place in a roasting pan and put the lemon and bay leaves into the cavity. Crumble the dried chilli over the top, generously season with salt and grind over just a little black pepper. Using a small, sharp knife, score the legs not quite to the bone and place on the middle shelf of the hot oven.

Cook for 20 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180C/350F/Gas4 and roast for about a further 45 minutes. At this point, turn the heat off and open the oven door two to three inches and allow the chicken to rest in the oven for 15 minutes. Now remove from the oven and carve.

Serve alongside the roasted vegetables and purée of potato.

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