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Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Heat the butter in a large casserole dish and brown the chicken slowly on all sides; this should take a good 10-15 mins. (Be patient, it will pay off later.) Take the chicken out of the dish, throw in the bacon and cook for 3-4 mins until starting to crisp, then add the onion, carrots and thyme and continue to cook for 4-5 mins until the vegetables soften. Stir the celery into the dish, then nestle the chicken amongst the veg, breast side down. Pour over the cider and stock, bring to a simmer, then roast the chicken uncovered for 1 hr.
Turn the chicken the right way up and give it 30 mins more, by which point the legs should be coming away. Carefully lift the chicken from the dish. Check the seasoning of the vegetables and serve with the chicken.