- 1x2-2.5kg (4½-5½lb) large free range chicken
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 clove garlic, unpeeled
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 4 rashers streaky bacon
- 1tbsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4). Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Place in a baking tin, breast-side up, and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the bird. Place the other lemon half inside the cavity, along with the garlic clove and thyme sprigs. Cover the breast of the chicken with the bacon rashers, and drizzle with olive oil over the legs and thighs.
- Transfer to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, then lift off the bacon and set aside. Using tongs and a large spoon, turn the bird over, then return to the oven and roast for a further 60 minutes, shaking occasionally so it doesn't stick. Check the chicken is cooked by piercing the flesh between the thigh and leg - the juice should run clean.
- Transfer the roasted chicken to a warm dish, breast side down, and leave to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. This is a good time to make gravy and finish the vegetables. Return the bacon to the oven for 5 minutes to crisp before serving.
Place a sheet of non-stick baking paper in the bottom of the roasting tin to stop the chicken sticking to the tin.