- 100g (4oz) butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 200g packet whole cooked chestnuts, finely chopped
- 100g (4oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
- 60ml (4tbsp) fresh thyme leaves
- Grated rind of 2 lemons
- 1 small egg, beaten
- 1.5kg (3lb 5oz) oven-ready chicken
- 1 lemon, thickly sliced
- Fresh thyme sprigs to garnish
To make the stuffing, melt 25g (1oz) of the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion for 8-10 mins until very soft. Add the chestnuts, breadcrumbs, half the thyme leaves and half the lemon rind. Mix well and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Leave to cool, then stir in the beaten egg.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5). Soften the rest of the butter and beat in the remaining thyme and lemon rind. Carefully lift the skin from the breast of the chicken and push half the butter between the skin and the breast meat. Use about one quarter of the stuffing to stuff the neck end of the chicken. Tie the legs together with string and place in a roasting tin. Shape the rest of the stuffing into balls, place in a small roasting tin, cover and set aside.
Cover the chicken with a tent of foil and roast for 1 hr 15 mins. Uncover the chicken and smother the legs and breast with the rest of the lemon and thyme butter. Season well. Return to the oven and roast uncovered for a further 40-50 mins until the skin is crisp and golden and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a knife.
Pour some of the chicken juices over the stuffing balls, add the lemon slices and cook in the oven for 20 mins until crisp and golden.
Meanwhile, allow the cooked chicken to rest for 20 mins. Serve on a platter with the stuffing balls, lemon slices and thyme sprigs.
Top tip for making Roast chicken with lemon and thyme butter glaze
When buying fresh chicken, look for well-wrapped meat with no seepage. The limbs, flesh and skin should be undamaged and the meat should look firm and plump.