Herby roast chicken with garlic lemon toasts

Crunchy lemon toasts make an unusual addition to this succulent family weekend dish

  • Prep:5 mins
    Cook:1 hrs
    Plus resting
  • Serves 5
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 554
  • fat 34g
  • saturates 10g
  • carbs 21g
  • sugars 2g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 41g
  • salt 1.3g


  • 1.8kg chicken
  • 1 preserved or fresh lemon (see tip, below)
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 fresh bay leaf (or 3 dried)
  • 2 garlic bulbs, sliced across the middle
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling, if you like
  • ½ loaf ciabatta, sliced


Preserved lemons are used in North African cooking, most often in tagines. They come in a salty brine and have more of an intense, tart flavour than fresh lemons. Look out for Belazu preserved lemons, available in larger supermarkets and delis. Try preserved lemons chopped in salsas for fish and chicken.


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Stuff the chicken with the preserved lemon, basil, bay leaves and 1 of the garlic bulbs. Place in a roasting tin, season inside and out, then rub olive oil all over the skin. Roast in the oven for 1 hr, basting regularly.

  2. After 30 mins, nestle the other garlic bulb in the tin, then cook with the chicken for the final 30 mins. Test if the chicken is cooked by pushing a skewer into the thigh – if the juices run clear, it’s done. Leave to rest somewhere warm for at least 15 mins, catching any resting juices.

  3. To make the toasts, grill or toast the sliced ciabatta. Take the softened garlic bulb that cooked alongside the chicken and squeeze the flesh onto the toasts, then roughly spread over with a knife. Remove the preserved lemon from the chicken cavity, roughly chop and scatter over the toasts. Drizzle with more olive oil, if you like, and serve alongside the chicken to mop up all the juices.

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