Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken

In every cook book I own and there are a lot of them, roast chicken features as an easy, everyday roast. While I completely agree that it is easy, I want to take my roast to the next level. First of all I start with a great, free range bird, fresh herbs and tangy lemon and what you get is my Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken.

FF Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken taking your roast to the next level.

A cook’s view on animal welfare:

Now don’t get me wrong, I love roast chicken, as long as it’s a good bird. By that I mean free range or organic. Not only am I concerned for the welfare of the chicken during its life, the additional antibiotics and fast growing make me shudder. Buying well bred, slow growing birds not only ensures a better quality of life for the chicken, the resulting taste, when cooked, couldn’t be more different to a standard, supermarket chicken.

I have mentioned before our decision, as a family, to eat less meat, but what we do eat must be of good quality. And yes that means paying more. Making the meat go further helps with the cost, but ultimately it is our personal choice. Especially with less additives/antibiotics and a happier lifetime, each chicken we eat is cooked with respect for the bird and I aim to waste nothing.

FF Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken, this meat is finger licking good.

Grow your own herbs:

I grow a lot of our own herbs in tubs and in the garden. While rosemary and thyme are probably my most frequently used herbs. Also being hardy I can still pick them in the winter, along with bay and sage. Most supermarkets sell freshly potted herbs at a great price. Next time you are doing your weekly shop, grab a couple of pots, plant them into larger tubs, or the ground (only plant mint in a pot – it’s a thug in the ground!).

As you can see from the photo above, my thyme is just starting to flower. Pretty, tiny pink flowers that are fine to leave on the stalks and add extra interest when used as a garnish.

Tasting the difference:

So let me encourage you to buy, or should I say invest in a slower growing free range/organic bird and a pot of fresh herbs. I buy all of our meet from Graig Farm in Wales and have done so for the last few years. Chicken used for this recipe came from them and the taste was noticeably better than a mass produced, supermarket bird. The only way you’ll know is by tasting the roasted chicken.

With free delivery on all orders over £100 and a new customer discount, it is well worth taking at look at their website here. I generally buy our meat in bulk and then fill the freezer. Since I find buying larger joints of meat works out more economical and bigger cuts of meat, especially on the bone, taste so much better. I realise there are 5 of us in our house, so let me reassure you that they sell a wide range of meats, in different cuts and sizes. Also if there’s something you’d like and they don’t list it, give them a ring. Especially as Graig Farm’s customer service is excellent and they always try to accommodate each individual customer’s requests.

Recipe: Make one 2.2kg/5lb Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken, serves 8

2.2kg/5lb Chicken – preferably organic or free range – ours was from Graig Farm

1 Fresh Unwaxed Lemon – scrub in hot water if waxed

Approx 10 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme

1tbsp Olive Oil

Sea salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to season

Optional – 6 rashers smoked streaky bacon – again preferably organic or free range

Method: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6

  • Remove the chicken from the fridge 1 hour prior to roasting.
  • Take the giblets out of the cavity and pat the outside dry with kitchen roll.
  • Sprinkle a generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper into the chicken’s cavity.
FF Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
As the chicken cooks the lemon and thyme flavours gently permeate throughout the meat.
  • Cut a lemon in half and insert into the chicken cavity.
  • Push the fresh thyme into the cavity with the lemon.
  • Place the chicken in a roasting dish that is just big enough to hold the bird.
  • Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil all over the outside of the chicken.
  • Sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground black pepper all over the chicken’s outside.
  • Lay strips of streaky bacon across the bird.
  • Also tuck the giblets down the side of the bird. Because when roasted these will add massive flavour to any gravy or stock.
FF Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
Covered in streaky bacon that will baste the bird as it is cooking adding extra flavour.
  • Next tightly cover the chicken in aluminium foil.
  • Place the chicken into the middle of the oven and roast for 1 hour 40 minutes.
  • After the roasting time has elapsed remove the chicken from the oven.
  • Remove the aluminium foil and cooked bacon rashers – cook’s perk!
  • Baste with the juices and place back into the oven for a further 20 minutes to crisp up the skin.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: the cooking times are based on 20 minutes per pound of meat, plus an extra twenty minutes. For a 5lb chicken like this one, the roasting time is 1 hour 40 minutes, plus an extra 20 minutes – adjust your timings to fit the weight of your bird.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven at the end of it’s cooking time.
  • Press a sharp knife into the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh. The chicken is cooked if the juices are clear. If there is ANY hint of pink pop the chicken back into the oven and retest after 15 minutes.
  • As soon as the chicken cooked remove from it’s roasting tin and place on a board or serving platter. Use the leftover juices in the tin to make a lemon and thyme flavoured gravy.
  • Cover the chicken loosely with aluminium foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes (or up to an hour).
FF Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken who’s ready for dinner?

How to serve your chicken:

Serve the Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken with traditional roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables, or in the summer with hunks of good, homemade fresh bread like this Large White Bloomer,  and a crisp green salad.

A delicious twist on a favourite roast, this Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken will awaken your taste buds and leave you wanting more!

If you’ve enjoyed the recipe for this Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken, here are few few more you might like:

Chicken Herb Burgers

FF Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
Chicken Herb Burgers ultimate summer barbecue food!

Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs 

FF Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs

Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne

FF Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne delicious comfort food.

Do you love Roast Chicken?

What is your opinion on oraganic versus standard? Only polite answers please.

It has been amazing to see so many of you putting up photos on Twitter and Instagram where you have made my recipes. Honestly I cannot express the gratitude I feel, when you place your trust in me. Ingredients cost money, which is why I test each recipe thoroughly to ensure you have the best possible chance of success when following them.

Seeing your makes and bakes keeps Feasting is Fun at the heart of what this blog is all about. Having fun whilst making and baking in your kitchens and then feasting and sharing with family, friends and neighbours.

That makes me smile!

Sammie xx

This is not a sponsored post. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

While I know that Easter is only a few days away and traditionally lamb is eaten on Easter Sunday, however, this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder is so good, I would happily eat it all year round!

GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder tender, moist and falls off the bone.

By that I really mean whenever good, British lamb is in season. Graig Farm is where I buy our lamb from and I can honestly say it really is the best lamb I have ever eaten. Whether as Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb or this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder.

Absolutely perfect for putting in the oven first thing, whilst, on Easter Sunday you go to church, or take part in an egg hunt. Minimal preparation and then when you come back home the smell, as you walk through the front door, so warm, welcoming and delicious!

GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder makes a delicious meal.

While a whole shoulder of lamb will feed six people generously, if you are cooking for more people, do as I did. I roasted two whole shoulders as I wanted to be guaranteed lots of leftovers. Since I was cooking one Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder it would take no more effort or energy to cook two and I wanted plenty of leftovers for another recipe I had in mind.

 

Also, whenever you are feeding a crowd, this is the perfect roast for feasting on. After slow roasting for 5 hours, you have beautiful, melt in the mouth meat. In fact I pulled our lamb apart using two forks, much like you would for pulled pork. Since the lamb comes clean away from the bone and is so moist. Serve with golden, crunchy roast potatoes or this Leek Colcannon.

GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder so tender it can be pulled apart using forks.

Recipe: One Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder will serve 6 adults

  • Each shoulder of lamb weighs  2.2kg from Graig Farm 
  • One onion, peeled and halved per shoulder.
  • Sprigs of rosemary.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Optional –  peeled garlic cloves.

Method: Preheat the oven to 155C/140C fan, gas mark 2

  • First of all, place the shoulder of lamb into a roasting tin that just fits.
  • Using a sharp knife make slashes through the skin into the shoulder of lamb.
  • Push small sprigs of rosemary (and garlic, if liked) into the holes.
  • Sprinkle over with sea salt and pepper.
  • Place the onion halves under the lamb.
GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Two whole lamb shoulders fitted perfectly in my roasting tin.
  • Finally, cover the roasting tin tightly with aluminium foil. Make a folded pleat down the length of the foil and then crimp tightly to the tin. The pleat allows you to pull the foil away from the lamb, so that they don’t touch, it also gives room for steam to circulate as the lamb is slow cooking.
GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
The pleat in the foil allows for expansion.
  • Place the lamb into the centre of the oven and cook for 5 hours.
  • NOTE: All ovens vary, the cooking time is a guide only,
  • The meat does not need to be basted. The natural fat and juices within the lamb baste it as it slow cooks.
  • After the cooking time has elapsed, remove the lamb from the oven.
  • Remove the foil and check the lamb is cooked by pulling at some of the meat with a fork. If it comes away easily the lamb is cooked.
  • If the lamb is not fork tender, cover again with foil and place back into the oven, checking half hourly until cooked.
  • Once cooked, if you like crispy lamb skin increase the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6 and place the lamb back into the oven, leaving the foil off. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until you have golden, crispy skin.
GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Beautifully cooked Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulders.
  • Once cooked remove the lamb from the oven.
  • Take the lamb out of the pan and place on a board, or platter, cover in foil to rest for 30-40 minutes. Enough time to finish the roast potatoes in the oven!
  • To serve, pull the lamb apart into chunks, using 2 forks.
  • Because this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder tastes so mouth-wateringly good, you’ll be back for seconds – so maybe roasting two shoulders of lamb wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all 😉.

Whatever you do this Easter, I’d encourage you to take a moment to think about why we celebrate it – see Important Stuff.

If you have enjoyed this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder you may also like these recipes:

Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb

GF Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb
Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb

Leek Colcannon

GF Leek Colcannon
Leek Colcannon

Hot Cross Buns

GF Hot Cross Buns
Homemade Hot Cross Buns.

If you make this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder from Graig Farm please leave a comment or pop a photo up on Twitter/Instagram. I love seeing what you cook and bake.

Do you have a favourite roast? Or do you struggle to cook a certain roast and you’d like help with it?

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

Graig Farm provided the lamb for this post. All opinions, views, recipe and content are my own. I did not receive payment for this post please see my Disclosure Policy.

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