Lemon and Thyme Roasted Chicken
- 1 organic chicken approx 1.5-1.9 kg
- 4 small onion skin on
- 1 lemon sliced 4 times
- 1 handful fresh thyme
- 3 clove garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- extra virgin olive oil
- smoked paprika
- sea salt flakes
- black pepper freshly ground
- kitchen twine about 1/2 metre or yard
When it comes to organic food, I don't think I would be able to tell you the difference between an organic piece of parsley and a non-organic piece of parsley. However when it comes to chicken the difference is night and day. Organic chickens are more tender, the skin crisps better and the flesh tastes 100% like chicken. Non organic chickens are fed copious amounts of antibiotic growth promoters and the end result is unnaturally large birds with bland tasteless meat.
Organic birds, even though usually twice as old when slaughtered are often still smaller than these unnaturally oversized counterparts. Having to feed and house the animals twice as long obviously adds a great deal of cost for the organic poultry farmer and explains the higher price when we go to buy them at the poultry shop, but I believe the taste difference is well worth the extra cost. Plus, unless you're sick why would you want to consume antibiotics every time you feel like some chicken. Go on, go organic and start roasting!
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees (400 fahrenheit)
- Place 2 of the sliced onions, lemon, thyme, garlic and bay leaves, in a mixing bowl with a good splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Toss the above ingredients together with hands and stuff firmly into the cavity of the chicken.
- Truss the chicken.
- Lay the remaining slices of onion in the bottom of a roasting tray.
- Lightly rub the chicken with a little bit of olive oil.
- Season the chicken liberally with sea salt, paprika and pepper.
- Place the chicken on the onion slices, (back and wings facing down).
- Roast in oven for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 180 degrees (350 fahrenheit) and roast a further 1 hr.
- About half way through the cooking process baste the bird with a little olive oil.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and pierce the bird in the thickest part of the leg, near the joint. Juices should run clear, indicating it is cooked.
- Gather everyone up and sit down to a family dinner.
- You'll need about 1/2 metre (1/2 yard) long piece of cooking twine.
- Lay it on its back with its tail away from you.
- Place twine under the bird's tail and centre it.
- Pull both ends of the twine up and cross them over one another.
- Wrap each piece of twine around the end of the drumstick.
- Pull the twine tight and the legs will come together.
- Cross the twine over one another again and make a knot.
- Cut off the excess string.
- Tuck the wings under by forcing the tip of the 3rd digit to sit behind the 1st digit and shoulder.