- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 bunch fresh lemon thyme
- 1 good quality roasting chicken, preferably free-range organic, around 1.8kg (4lb)
- 6 onions, peeled, halved and quartered, root left intact
- 300ml (1/2pt) manzanilla (or other very dry sherry)
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 2tsp cornflour mixed with a little cold water
- 250ml (9fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock
- roast sweet potatoes, to serve
Preheat oven to 200 C, 180 C fan, 400 F, gas 6. Place the lemon and thyme in the cavity of the chicken. Put the onions in the centre of the roasting tin and put the chicken on top. Pour half the sherry over, rub the chicken with olive oil, season and roast for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 180 C, 160 C fan, 350 F, gas 4 and roast for an hour or until the juices from the thickest part of the thigh run clear when pierced with a skewer.
Take out the chicken (leave the onions in the tin), place on a warm plate and cover with foil while you make the gravy. Put the roasting tin on the hob, pour in the remaining sherry, bring to a bubble and stir in the cornflour mix. Return to the boil and stir well, scraping up any residue, then add the stock. Bubble until thickened, check for seasoning and pour into a warmed jug. Joint the chicken and serve with roasted sweet potatoes and fine green beans.
Peel and cut 1kg (2lb 4oz) sweet potatoes into large chunks. Toss in 2tbsp olive oil, season well and roast at 180 C, 160 C fan, 350 F, gas 4 for about 40 minutes or until tender.