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This is one of those recipes you can’t make once: that’s to say, after the first time, you’re hooked. It is gloriously easy: you just put everything in the roasting dish and leave it to cook in the oven, pervading the house, at any time of year, with the summer scent of lemon and thyme – and of course mellow, almost honeyed garlic.

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  • 1 x 2-2.25kg Chicken cut into 10 pieces

  • 1 head Garlic separated into unpeeled cloves

  • 2 unwaxed Lemons cut into chunky eighths

  • fresh Thyme

  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil

  • 150 ml white wine

  • Black pepper


  • 1.

    Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC/gas mark 3.

  • 2.

    Put the chicken pieces into a roasting tin and add garlic cloves, lemon chunks and the thyme; just roughly pull the leaves off the stalks, leaving some intact for strewing over later.

  • 3.

    Add the oil and using your hands mix everything together, then spread the mixture out, making sure all the chicken pieces are skin side up.

  • 4.

    Sprinkle over the white wine and grind on some pepper, then cover tightly with foil and put in the oven to cook, at flavour-intensifying low heat, for 2 hours.

  • 5.

    Remove the foil from the roasting tin, and turn up the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6.

  • 6.

    Cook the uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes, by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelise at the edges.

  • 7.

    I like to serve this as it is, straight from the roasting tin: so just strew with your remaining thyme and dole out.

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19 comments • 38 ratings
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Posted by Matt631Report
Nigella....where the HELL did you learn to cook?? I followed the recipe to the letter and this was honestly the f**king DRIEST chicken I've ever eaten!!! The lemons were nice and soft but still had an unpleasant bitterness to them, and the wine reduced to some sticky tar-like substance in the bottom of the pan.
Seriously, instead of all those sultry looks into the camera on your shows, maybe you should focus more on the recipes, because this...was...disgusting!!!
Posted by LuLoReport
I found the lack of salt in the recipe odd but I just went ahead and added it anyways. I actually found cooking it that long made it even more flavorful and the meat was just falling off the bone.
Posted by LuLoReport
This would definitely come out like a soup or stew if cooked in a slow cooker. The whole point is for the chicken to roast. I doubt the flavors would work as well if slow cooked in that way.
Posted by LuLoReport
Too bad this didn't come out as you might of expected. I find that rubbing the roasted lemons and garlic over the chicken at the end really adds a ton of flavor. Hopefully you will try it out again.
Posted by LuLoReport
Absolutely one of the most delicious roasted chicken recipes I have ever made. This is the second time I made this recipe and it was just as good as the first time. Unfortunately I didn't have any white wine or thyme (I substituted it with dried oregano) but it still came out moist and flavorful. The cooking time might seem like too long but it is worth it once you see how the meat just falls off the bone and the skin gets deliciously crispy. Personally I like to take the roasted lemon and garlic and rub it all over the chicken at the end. Be careful not to bite into a lemon seed because it will be bitter, better yet remove them before cooking lol.
Posted by Dee45Report
I don't know what I did wrong. It tasted like foot. The chicken was so bitter and had the worst after taste of sour lemon and wine breath. Maybe it was the wine I used, perhaps the lemons were not the best. I honestly followed it word for word. Wasted a whole organic chicken on this one. It could have been grand. Was very embarrassed as I made it for my boyfriends family, although they were real troopers about it. Disappoint. :(
Posted by Matt631Report
Dee45, I also agree!
I followed the recipe, including cooking time and temperature, and yet the chicken was dried than the Sahara Dessert! The lemons were still bitter, despite the recipe saying that they'd become nice and caramelised. And there was a general, unpleasantness about to the flavour. I'm guessing the white wine had something to do with that (before it totally evaporated leaving a stick black sludge in the bottom of the dish).
How much research did Nigella put into this recipe, because honestly, I would be embarrassed to put my name to a recipe like this!
Posted by LuLoReport
Personally I made this without the wine and it still came out delicious. It's really weird that it came out so sour. Maybe you should have removed the seeds from the lemons? Don't give up on this recipe. I suggest you try it again but just leave out the wine and make sure the lemons are really fresh.
Posted by Kate689Report
Dee45 I totally agree. Just made this and it tasted awful - really bitter. I too followed the recipe word for word. I used a Sauvignon Blanc and wonder if this is the problem. Absolutely foul.
Posted by Gary107Report
Delicious, moist chicken with beautiful flavours & so easy - this is a winner