The Cottage Smallholder

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Easy tasty whole roast chicken with mandarin, lemon and garlic recipe


A detail of Danny's plate!

A detail of Danny's plate!

If I was only allowed one type of meat for the weekly Sunday roast for the rest of my life, I would have to choose chicken. Roast chicken is so versatile and adaptable. I never tire of cooking and guzzling it. And of course it’s a great excuse to make bread sauce and play a bit with the trimmings. Depending on the ammount of mouths to feed – you can pad it out with a good stuffing, chipolatas and even Yorkshire puddings.

This week I decided to experiment and roast ours with lemon, mandarin, garlic and a sprinkle of *savory. I roasted this chicken in Andrew – the halogen oven.

This roast chicken was delicious and created its own citrusy/chickeny gravy. In fact it was so good that we happily ate it cold and unadorned the next evening for supper with some baked potatoes and peas. The rest of the leftovers went into a risotto with the remaining gravy (a great way of padding out one portion of cold chicken into a meal for two).

You will notice that during the cooking time the chicken is turned over every now and then. This is a good technique as when the chicken is breast down the juices will be drawn into the breast meat and make a much more succulent bird. The garlic infuses flavour through the skin and can be squeezed out to add a delicious roast garlic ‘mush’ to the meat. Yummy and garlic is hugely good for your health.

*savory – the herb 

I’m getting addicted to this herb and it has taken over from thyme in the favourite herb stakes. This favouritism could also reflect the fact that our thyme grows best right at the bottom of the garden – a long trudge. We planted some near the backddor but it curled up and clearly hated that spot.

There are two types of savory – summer savory which is an annual plant and winter savory which is a semi evergreen perennial plant. I ordered both types of savory seeds from the Otter Farm online shop quite a few companies like Thompson and Morgan  supply the seeds online too.

Apparently summer savory is reputed to repel blackfly on broad beans if planted amongst the rows and sown indoors now. Beans cooked with summer savoury are delicious.

Winter savoury has a much stronger taste. I’d like to make a little hedge of this herb in the back of the two raised beds that we are planning to put in the front drive this summer.

Whole roast chicken with mandarin, lemon and garlic


A 1.5 kilo chicken
1 tsp of olive oil
I mandarin orange (skin on)
Half a large lemon (skin on)
6 slices of unsmoked streaky bacon
6 garlic cloves (skin on)
Half a tsp of dried winter savory – if you have access to fresh double the amount 

Rub the olive oil over the entire bird using clean hands.
Place the chicken in an low sided ovenproof dish and tuck the cloves of garlic under the bird.
Cut a few thin slices of the mandarin for garnish and set them aside. Squeeze the mandarin halves over the bird and rub the juice in. Repeat with the half lemon.
Put the lemon and mandarin skins inside the chicken.
Sprinkle the savory over the chicken and place the bacon over the breast.
Bake for 30 minutes breast up at 200c on the highest rack and with the extension collar in place (if you have no extension collar bake on the lowest rack).
After 30 minutes remove the bacon to a warm place – it can be quickly heated through with the plates. Turn the chicken over, breast down and move to the lower rack (extension collar still in place). Bake for a further 40 minutes.
Turn the chicken over, pull the thighs away from the bird to ensure even roasting. Bake for the final 20 minutes or so until the breast is golden brown and the juices from the thighs run clear.

This could be cooked in a conventional oven (covered with a lid or foil for the first hour and then opened to brown for the last 30 minutes).

  Leave a reply


  1. Mick Fionda

    Re-finding a dish to use in a halogen oven, I find round sponge tins ideal and I have a round silicone dish as well but this can be difficult to retrieve when hot. Sorry so late with this post; I see the last post was dated February 2011. Anyway, may help someone in future.

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