Roast Chicken with Lemon

Roast Chicken with Lemon

When you move house, everything is unsettled. You can’t find the scissors. You trip on the edge of the bed. You hear every creak in the floor, every tick of the pipes. Your stuff is in, but it’s nowhere near home.

There was a belief when I was a kid – I suspect perpetuated by the literary classic Topsy and Tim Move House – that if you moved house, you should smother the cat’s paws in butter, and by the time it has licked it all off, it will be settled in the new home.

“I don’t think so,” said Jon, who, unlike me, actually grew up with cats. “All that would happen, is that the cat would tear around the house, getting butter on everything. I don’t think it would help.”

Nevertheless, it’s a comforting thought.

Roasting a chicken is the human equivalent of that.

boxes and moving


1 chicken (buy it ready to roast, life’s too short to de-giblet a chicken)
1 large yellow onion
2 lemons
½ cup dry white wine
2 tbsp soft butter
4 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
  • Pre heat the oven to 400
  • Peel and quarter the onion, then cut the quarters in half again and lay the pieces in the middle of a roasting tin. Drop in the garlic (no need to peel).
  • Rinse the chicken (inside the cavity too) then pat the skin dry with a paper towel
  • Cut one lemon in half. Squeeze one of the halves and mix the juice with the soft butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Lift up the skin of the chicken being careful not to tear it, then slide about half of the butter under the skin. Smear the rest all over the chicken.
  • Season the cavity with salt and pepper.
  • Chop the rest of the lemons into quarters and stuff inside the chicken. Don’t pack them in. Any that don’t fit, leave in the bottom of the roasting tray.
  • Pour the wine into the tray
  • Put the chicken on top of the onions – this acts as a sort of natural trivet keeping it out of the liquid – and roast for an hour or so, depending on the size of the chicken. Start checking the temp after ¾ of an hour. It must be 180 in the thigh.
  • Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes then serve with the gravy that’s in the tin (smush in the garlic).
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