- 1.8kg chicken
Chicken's many plus points - its versatility, as well as the ease and speed with which it…
- 1 preserved or fresh lemon (see tip, below)
Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…
- 1 bunch basil
Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…
- 1 fresh bay leaf (or 3 dried)
- 2 garlic bulbs, sliced across the middle
Part of the lily, or alium, family, of which onions are also a member, garlic is one of the most…
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling, if you like
- ½ loaf ciabatta, sliced
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Stuff the chicken with the preserved lemon, basil, bay leaves and 1 of the garlic bulbs. Place in a roasting tin, season inside and out, then rub olive oil all over the skin. Roast in the oven for 1 hr, basting regularly.
After 30 mins, nestle the other garlic bulb in the tin, then cook with the chicken for the final 30 mins. Test if the chicken is cooked by pushing a skewer into the thigh – if the juices run clear, it’s done. Leave to rest somewhere warm for at least 15 mins, catching any resting juices.
To make the toasts, grill or toast the sliced ciabatta. Take the softened garlic bulb that cooked alongside the chicken and squeeze the flesh onto the toasts, then roughly spread over with a knife. Remove the preserved lemon from the chicken cavity, roughly chop and scatter over the toasts. Drizzle with more olive oil, if you like, and serve alongside the chicken to mop up all the juices.
Preserved lemons are used in North African cooking, most often in tagines. They come in a salty brine and have more of an intense, tart flavour than fresh lemons. Look out for Belazu preserved lemons, available in larger supermarkets and delis. Try preserved lemons chopped in salsas for fish and chicken.