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Chicken Surprise!

Ok, it's not really a surprise, but we used to joke to the kids how surprised the chook would be, were it still alive!


  • 1 whole free range, organic chicken

  • 1 head garlic, halved horizontally

  • 1 lemon, halved

  • 3-4 tablespoons butter*

  • olive oil

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • salt flakes


  • 1.

    Open the cavity of the chicken and remove excess fat from around the opening.

  • 2.

    Tuck the wings under.

  • 3.

    Using your fingertips, separate the skin around the two breast areas from the breast flesh.

  • 4.

    I buy 500g butter and cut off 1 end approx 5-8mm thick x 2.

  • 5.

    Insert the two slices of butter between the skin & the breast meat on either side.

  • 6.

    Push 1 half of the lemon into the cavity, then insert the two halves of the whole head of garlic (around 15 or so cloves) cut side facing upwards towards the breast.

  • 7.

    Insert the final half of the lemon.

  • 8.

    Use kitchen twine to secure the legs so the garlic & lemon don't fall out during cooking.

  • 9.

    Drizzle a little olive oil over he surface of the chicken and massage into the skin.

  • 10.

    Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

  • 11.

    Place the chicken onto a greased trivet and place it into a heavy based baking tray.

  • 12.

    Pour about 2.5cm water into the bottom of the baking tray, which will help keep the chicken moist during cooking.

  • 13.

    Cook at 180DegC for around 1-1½ hours. Insert a metal skewer into the thigh of the chicken, if the juices run clear (no blood!) the chicken is cooked through.

  • 14.

    Alternatively, use a thermometer to check that the chicken has achieved 82-85DegC.

  • 15.

    Remove from pan and cover with foil. Rest for 15 minutes before carving.


I like to moosh/smash the roasted garlic and the juice of the lemon and add to the pan juices... really, really sublime.

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Posted by Fay7Report
I ike it, but I think it would be too high in fat content.
Posted by Philippa WightmanReport
Actually, because you cook it on a trivet, there is very little fat. I always skim a lot of the fat off the pan juices before making a gravy too.