There are many ways to roast a chicken, however, the most important starting point is the quality of the bird itself. Slow-grown, pasture-raised, high-welfare chickens are the way forward. This recipe brings together late winter vegetables, an aromatic herb butter, and a splash of cider. The vegetables are interchangeable with other seasonal ingredients, but the techniques remains the same. 


  • 2kg
    Properly Free Range Chicken
  • 100g
    Soft butter
  • 1/2
  • 8
    Peeled garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons
    Olive oil
  • 8
    Peeled shallots
  • 5 tablespoons
    Chopped parsley, chervil and thyme for the butter
  • 1 tablespoon
    Chopped chervil or soft herbs to finish the sauce
  • 1
    Medium squash, peeled and cut into chunky pieces
  • 2
    Treviso chicory, cut into quarters length ways
  • 250ml
    Dry Cider
  • A pinch
    Salt and pepper


  • Remove the chicken from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature, this will take an hour or so before roasting. Preheat the oven to 220oC.

    Begin by making your herb butter, combine the soft butter with the chopped parsley, chervil and thyme. These herbs can change through the year, in spring, wild garlic and sorrel are great, with tarragon and lovage being a summer favourite.

    Using a pot large enough to accommodate the chicken and the vegetables, add the prepared squash, shallots and garlic cloves, and drizzle with a little olive oil, combine well and set to one side.

    If present, remove the heart, liver, neck and gizzards from the chicken. Add the gizzard and neck to the pot with the vegetables, and reserve the heart and liver for future recipes.

    Place the chicken onto a tray and gently loosen up the legs and wings, starting from the neck end carefully slip your fingers under the skin of each breast to create two pockets. 

    Now fill these pockets with 2/3rd of the herby butter, and gently massage the butter under the skin all over the breasts to create an even layer. Use the remaining butter and smear it over the outside of the chicken including the legs of the chicken. Drizzle over a little olive oil and massage in.

    Now season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the half lemon to the cavity and place it into the pot on top of the vegetables.

    Put the chicken into the oven and roast for twenty minutes, remove from the oven and give the pot a good shake to help the caramelisation of the shallots, garlic and squash. Add the cider to the pot and generously baste the chicken with the buttery juices.

    Lower the heat of the oven to 180oC and roast for a further 20 minutes before basting again, repeat this process every twenty minutes until the chicken is ready to come out and rest. If you have a large bird of around 2kg the total cooking time will be around 1.5 hours. All birds are different, so it is best to check from around 1.5 hours and allow a further ten minutes if needed.

    You will know your chicken is cooked if you insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and gently press the juices should run clear. 

    Once the chicken is ready, remove it from the oven and the pot and place it onto a tray and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes, this is vital as it allows the juices to travel back through the meat and keep everything juicy once carved.

    To finish the vegetables, remove the neck and gizzards from the pot and keep them for stock, add the chicory and return to the oven for 10 minutes. 

    Remove from the oven, and check the seasoning of the vegetables. I love to serve this as a sharing dish, so first onto your serving platter lay out the vegetables. 

    Now add the chopped soft herbs to the pan and sauce, remove the lemons from the chicken carcass and squeeze the juice into the sauce, correct the seasoning with a little salt if needed.

    Carve the chicken as you wish, serve over the vegetables and finish with the wonderful butter, lemon and chicken sauce.

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    Total: £16.00

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