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. Hi Fiona, I did your chicken & fruit recipe (used half an orange as didn’t have mandarin, also thyme as no savory) last night, in the Rayburn. I pot roasted it breast side down for about an hour, then turned it over and left lid off to brown it. It was delicious, the citrussy flavours permeate right through the meat and the citrus gravy was superb. We’re (husband and I) having chicken risotto today with the remaining breast, and the legs cold with a fruity home-made coleslaw and salad tomorrow. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. Hi Fiona, I am sure you will enjoy your polytunnel, and I look forward to reading about it. I am not sure if you know, but winter savoury is meant to alleviate the ‘windy’ symptoms associated with jerusalem artichokes! You have to cook them together – however, I cannot vouch for it as I have never eaten either – I don’t think I have ever seen either winter or summer savoury for sale as plants, only seeds. Good luck with your growing.

  3. Savoury – oh how we long to taste this herb..

    I found seeds from a Tasmanian seed supplier but alas after planting both summer & winter savoury on 4 seperate occasions I had no joy from this herb.

    It is almost unheard of here & can not be bought by the bunch in the shops..

    Curses on the usually wonderful Mr Jamie Oliver for having this herb as an ingredient in many of his early recipes.

  4. Heather E

    Your chicken meal looks delicious. I’ve not used orange before, so I’ll give it a try. I’ve grown summer savoury and really liked it – as you say, it’s a great alternative to thyme. Be warned – seeds prolifically! It didn’t help with my annual blackfly problem on broadbeans. Nothing save a water cannon will shift the little blighters!

  5. PatsyAnne

    I can’t believe how incredibly good your chicken sounds – I don’t have a halogen oven (living in rural New York) but will begin to check one out on the internet. Since I live alone, I hate to heat up the oven to bake something for me. But this sounds like the perfect item for me. I will try it this week on cut up chicken breasts, but alas, in my oven…
    Hope your winter is full of seed cataloges and cuttings…

  6. I don’t bother with oil when roasting chicken. I just place it breast down and squeeze the juice of a lemon over it, turning it up the right way again 30 minutes before the end of cooking. In fact, I roast most meat in lemon juice now and roast potatoes in a separate dish.
    Lamb is especialy good.

    If you can’t do without oil, try rice bran oil.
    No cholesterol at all!

    Along the same lines, for the past 20 odd years, I haven’t buttered bread when making sandwiches. There are alternatives. For example, if you are making sandwiches with the remains of a pork joint, keep some apple sauce back and smear the bread with that.
    Chicken with redcurrant jelly sandwiches are fab!
    It’s amazing how quickly one gets used to doing without butter.

  7. Jackie Gibbins

    This sounds delicious though I am still wary of trying new things out in ‘Cooper’, as my Halogen is called!

    I wondered, as you say to put the chicken in a low sided baking tray, if you had found a tray that fits into a Halogen? I either have to use a small oblong one, which doesn’t fit some things, or a large round pyrex dish. This dish is excellent apart from the fact that once it’s in you can’t lift it out again as there is no room for the lifter, let alone fingers!

  8. stayathomemummy

    Chicken has to be my favourite roast meat as well!

  9. Yeah, I was going to say that I would happily come to your house for dinner if my plate was going to look like that!

  10. Kooky Girl

    Goodness me ! By the look of that plate Danny really is never knowingly underfed. The chicken looks and sounds delicious. :o)

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