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Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Untie the legs and sit the chicken in a roasting tin, preferably non-stick. Push the lemon, half the onion and a few herb sprigs into the cavity. Re-tie the legs with string if you like. Turn the chicken over so the breast side is facing down, season generously, then drizzle with half the oil. Roast for 30 mins.
Carefully turn the chicken over, add the remaining onion and a few more herb sprigs to the tin, then toss them with any juices. Season the breast side, then drizzle with remaining oil. Roast for 40 mins until deep golden and smelling irresistible. Test chicken is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh; the juices should run clear. If they don’t, give it 10 more mins, then check again. Cool for 30 mins, then use your hands to pull the meat from the bones in big pieces (this is far easier than when the chicken is cold, plus you can get it in the fridge more quickly to completely cool down). Chill for up to 3 days, or use the warm meat for one of my recipes (see below).
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