Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
In a small bowl, mash the butter with
one-third of the thyme leaves, the
mashed garlic and the juice of half a
lemon. Mix everything together with
some seasoning and set aside.
Use your hand to loosen the chicken
skin away from the breast, then push
most of the butter mix into the gap.
Rub the rest of the butter all over the
outside of the chicken, then stuff the
cavity with the lemon halves, remaining
thyme leaves and stalks, and the garlic.
Scatter the chopped carrot, onion
and bay leaves over the base of a small
roasting tin. Sit the chicken on top,
breast-side up, and roast on the middle
shelf for 1 hr 30 mins, basting with the
buttery juices after about 40 mins. When
the chicken is dark golden, crispy-skinned
and the juices run clear, remove from the
oven and leave in the tin for 5 mins. Use
a pair of tongs to pull the lemons, garlic
and thyme out of the cavity and into the
tin. Lift the chicken up, letting any juices
dribble into the tin, and transfer the
chicken to a serving platter to rest for
at least another 15 mins.
To make the gravy, squeeze the juice
out of the cooked lemon halves and
discard the skins. Place the tin on a low
heat, stir in flour and sizzle until light
brown. Gradually pour in the stock and
cook for a few mins. If you like a darker
gravy, add a splash of soy sauce to the
tin. Strain the gravy into a jug and serve
with the chicken.