Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken and the leftovers

A beautifully roasted chicken is hard to beat; with crispy skin and succulent meat there’s nothing quite like it. Having a whole roast chicken is a rare thing for me, indeed this is the first chicken I have roasted in a very long time and I wasn’t about to waste a scrap of it. The chicken that was to fulfil my roast chicken dreams was a local, free range, corn fed bird. This post is about my perfect Sunday lunch and making the most of the leftovers.
 chicken with lemon, thyme, onions and garlic

Lemon and thyme roasted chicken is a classic, simple recipe. Shove it all together, chuck it in the oven and reap the rewards later.
You will need:
A chicken (I used a 1.4kg bird for two)
1 lemon
Fresh thyme
1 onion
Salt and pepper

roasted chicken with lemon and thyme

Start by cutting the string off the legs and stuffing the cavity with a few sprigs of thyme and half a lemon. Cut the onion up into chunks and put them into a roasting tin with the other half of the lemon and a few more sprigs of thyme. Put the butter into a bowl and mix in some salt and pepper. Now comes the slightly tricky and disgustingly satisfying part; separate the breast meat from the skin. I use a spoon to do this to minimise ripping the skin. When skin and meat are sufficiently separated, stuff some of the butter under the skin. Rub the rest of the butter onto the outside, put in to the roasting tray and roast in the oven at 160C for an hour or so or until cooked through.

roasted chicken with lemon and thyme

It can’t be denied that roast chicken with roast potatoes and all the trimmings is a fantastic meal but for two people there’s an awful lot of surplus chicken! Using the roasting tray and all the lovely bits to make the gravy is a must; the lemon gives it a brilliant flavour. 
When all the meat had been stripped from the carcass the bones were used to make chicken stock. I boiled the bones up with a carrot, a bit of leek, bay, parsley and black pepper. I managed to get about a litre of stock which is now sitting in the freezer waiting for a soup to be made. After a few pieces of cold chicken for dinner with pickles and whatnot I was left with a big bowl of leftover chicken. The next couple of posts will be all about making something delicious with these leftovers.


  1. says

    We roast whole chickens all the time! Especially when I can find them BOGO at Safeway:) We take all the leftover chicken, shred it with a fork and use it to make chicken enchiladas the next night. For less than $20 of ingredients, I get about 5 nights of dinners. Your baked chicken sounds great!

  2. says

    It looks yummy! I love roast chicken and normally get about 3 dinners for 2 from the left overs! One of my favourite lazy left over chicken dinners is to make chicken tacos!

  3. says

    I seldom roast one whole chicken because there’s only two of us at home. I will give a try to the chicken pieces and do the same as per your recipe. Again, fresh herbs are rarer over here but I do have the dried thyme. That looks like a perfectly roasted chicken and the best part I will dig in is the skin though its quite sinful.

  4. says

    oh man this post is now making me crave roasted chicken…yours looks sooo good. can’t wait to see the follow-up posts about using the leftovers!

  5. says

    You are right: a roast chicken is hard to beat. Crispy and delicious, especially the way you have made it here. Love these selection of herbs and the lemon inside.

  6. says

    We also roasted a chicken last night. First meal: roast chicken, roasted carrots and baked potatoes. Second and future meal: chicken stock made from skin, bones and sinews. Third meal: chicken burrito with lettuce and cheese. Fourth meal: yet to be determined.

  7. says

    There’s something very homely and comforting about a roast chicken. And it’s actually pretty easy to achieve an impressive result without too much “cheffiness”!

  8. says

    I know it seems like a lot for one or two people but it is fabulously economic. Definitely worth the effort! Even when I was single, I would roast a chicken. I had an arrangement with someone I worked with (we were both trying to eat more healthily), so once a week each of us would bring in lunch for the other – chicken salad was quick and easy! And then you’ve got sandwich fillings, stir fries, tom yum soup, the perfect stock . . . stop me now I could go on!

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