chicken with lemon

i made this for myself while r was away. you do feel a bit greedy cooking a whole chicken for yourself but it makes sense. it's easy - you just bung it in the oven after 5 minutes prep - and you can live off the leftovers for two days. in fact, i made a thai curry from scratch with the shredded meat and i had some in my lunchboxes.

i ate it with some spring onions mixed into a tub of creme fraiche. i love this stuff but it's usually a solitary treat: there is no avoiding the fact that your breath will stink afterwards. you should try it though - mix a couple of very fresh spring onions, both white and green parts, into about half a tub of creme fraiche (so about 125ml). season and eat, preferably on a nice sunny day.

i also had some plain green salad with these tiny black olives i got on a whim from waitrose. a bit of chilli-infused olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice was all it needed.


1 free range organic chicken
4 unwaxed lemons
1 tsb chilli flakes or to taste (i used more)
2 handfuls of parsley, chopped finely
salt and pepper
olive oil

get your butcher to spatchcock the chicken for you. this means they cut through the bone in the middle so you can lay the bird flat. put it in a non-reactive dish (i did the marinading and cooking in a standard oval china dish - my chicken was quite small). sprinkle the parsley and the chilli flakes on top, then squeeze all four lemons over it. season and pour a little olive oil on top just to get it going. leave to marinade at room temperature for an hour.

preheat the oven to 200C. when hot, roast the chicken for about an hour, depending on size. the juices should run clear when you pierce the thickest part.

take it out of the oven to rest for 10 minutes. the parsley will have gone dark and shrivelled so scrape some of it off, carve the chicken and sprinkle over the remaining parsley. you can make the gravy with the lemony juices but i was too hungry to bother. in fact, i sat in front of the tv tearing the chicken legs with my hands and eating them like i'd never seen a fork in my life. quite satisfying.


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