Roast Chicken with Lemon & Tarragon

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Footballer Trevor Francis

Dad went to watch Birmingham City football matches on a Saturday afternoon, when they were at home at St Andrews. He took me to see them play one Saturday in 1978. After having had a swift half at the Garrison Pub, he took me over to see Trevor Francis play. I was happy to see a real, famous person on the field, as I had only seen him on TV.

However, these were the days when the football hooligans played havoc on the terraces. Only 20 minutes into the game and the crowd started to turn nasty. Luckily, Dad could see what was to happen and he lifted me onto his shoulders and we escaped out of the stadium before we were crushed. Suffice to say, I have never been to a live football match since!

Here is a tasty, easy way to roast a chicken. Eat in front of the television, in the safety of your own home…..

Roast Chicken with Lemon & Tarragon

Serves 4
1½kg (3lb 4oz) chicken * 1 small lemon, quartered, squeezed and the juice put to one side * 2½ tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, chopped * 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed * 15g (½oz) softened butter * 1 tbsp olive oil * 310ml (10 floz) dry white wine * salt & freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8. Make a herb butter: mix the garlic, 2 tbsp of the tarragon leaves, butter and a bit of salt and pepper together into a bowl. Place the herb butter into the cavity of the chicken together with the quartered lemon. Smear a little of the olive oil over the base of a roasting tin, then place the chicken in it. Cover with tin foil. Cook for a total of 50 minutes.

During this time, take out every 10 minutes and baste with the juices in the bottom of the pan. Only in the last 10 minutes, take the foil off to brown the chicken. Check if the chicken is cooked by spearing with a knife. If the juices run clear, it is cooked, if not keep repeating the process until they do run clear.

Then transfer the chicken to a board that you are going to carve it up on and leave to rest, covered in foil for up to 20 minutes, while you do this. Skim some fat off the juices in the roasting tin. Place on a direct heat, add the wine and the lemon juice. Heat and let bubble then add the rest of the tarragon. Taste it and then pour over the chicken once you have carved it. Serve.

I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

This recipe comes from the section GREAT BRITISH DISHES, a selection of the best of British food.