For the gravy
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 250ml chicken stock (a cube is fine)
- STEP 1
Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Have a shelf ready in the middle of the oven without any shelves above it.
- STEP 2
Scatter 1 roughly chopped onion and 2 roughly chopped carrots over the base of a roasting tin that fits the whole 1 ½ kg chicken, but doesn’t swamp it.
- STEP 3
Season the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, then stuff with 2 lemon halves and a small bunch of thyme, if using.
- STEP 4
Sit the chicken on the vegetables, smother the breast and legs all over with 25g softened butter, then season the outside with salt and pepper.
- STEP 5
Place in the oven and leave, undisturbed, for 1 hr 20 mins – this will give you a perfectly roasted chicken. To check, pierce the thigh with a skewer and the juices should run clear.
- STEP 6
Carefully remove the tin from the oven and, using a pair of tongs, lift the chicken to a dish or board to rest for 15-20 mins. As you lift the dish, let any juices from the chicken pour out of the cavity into the roasting tin.
- STEP 7
While the chicken is resting, make the gravy. Place the roasting tin over a low flame, then stir in 1 tbsp flour and sizzle until you have a light brown, sandy paste.
- STEP 8
Gradually pour in 250ml chicken stock, stirring all the time, until you have a thickened sauce.
- STEP 9
Simmer for 2 mins, using a wooden spoon to stir, scraping any sticky bits from the tin.
- STEP 10
Strain the gravy into a small saucepan, then simmer and season to taste. When you carve the bird, add any extra juices to the gravy.