Roast chicken with rosemary, lemon and thyme

Summer night dinner at home.
My daughter Louise climbing the apple tree during dinner.


1 whole farm chicken
A few rosemary and thyme sprigs
1 lemon (cut in quarters)
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves (skin on)
olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

For the gravy:

All the juices from the roasting pan
Half glass white wine
1 tbsp plain flour
Salt & pepper

I roast a chicken at least once a week. In France, I always buy the poulet fermier jaune (farmer’s yellow chicken – it basically means that it is corn-fed chicken). The flesh is yellower and richer in taste.
Take the chicken out 2 hours before roasting. Cooking meat straight from the fridge dries it out. I have learnt how important it is to roast meat at room temperature – that really is the secret to a great juicy chicken, therefore a successful gravy. Place the chicken on a roasting pan, salt and rub olive oil all over the poultry, salt lightly in the cavity and stuff the rosemary, bay leaf and thyme sprigs, the garlic with the skin on and the lemon cut in quarters. Leave to rest.
In a full-on 240°C pre-heated oven, place the chicken in the center. Then lower the heat to 190-200°C and cook for 1 hour. I don’t do anything to it for 1 whole hour.
When ready, take out the chicken, cover with a tinfoil then a tea towel. Place the roasting pan filled with the chicken juices on to a stove on medium heat and add the wine. It should be bubbling away so let it reduce for a few minutes. Sprinkle the flour and whisk the sauce until it thickens to a perfect gravy. Pour in a serving dish and there you have a delicious gravy flavoured with lemon, thyme, rosemary and wine. Simply divine.

I serve this dish with roast potatoes, a corn salad and sucrine lettuce. I usually roast two chickens because there is nothing better that cold chicken sandwiches for the next day’s lunch.

13 thoughts on “Roast chicken with rosemary, lemon and thyme

  1. Thanks for the advice on cooking the chicken (all meat?) at room temperature. I noticed a big difference and was able to make a wonderful sauce..(wasn’t quite as thick as a gravy, but my family likes it that way. Plus when I add flour to sauces for thickening I always seem to end up with small lumps). It was a lovely improvement on an already delicious dish! The sauce had wonderful notes of lemon and thyme as you said!

  2. Hi Mimi,

    I am going very thoroughly through your recipes and it is like traveling through an exotic country, I am totally consumed by the way you put together meals and recipes. For example, this roasted chicken recipe, it sounds so routine, you smear olive oil over the chicken, you stuff it with lemon wedges, do do I, but my chicken always comes out sort of dry, actually really dry, I am petrified of eating undercooked chicken, but I cannot help it. I stuff it with not only lemon wedges, but oranges and dry prunes, but the meat always comes out too crispy. I tried to stuff dubs of butter under the skin and additionally smear it with olive oil but still…too crispy. If you have any suggestions, I would appreciate it and will try it the very near next time. I just cannot believe I can make so many complicated dishes but the simple roasted chicked is a true challenge. I am raking through all your gorgeous recipes.


  3. Hello! Beautiful blog! I first had your book, then read an article in Conde Nast and found out it was you! Then lastly came across your blog. I’m not a computer person, so forgive me I am posting in the hopes if subscribing since I can’t find a bar. Thx!

  4. Hello. I prepare this roast chicken for my family once in a while, and everyone loves it. This weekend is spent at our cabin in the high mountains of Jotunheimen in Norway, and last night the roast chicken brought cosiness and warmth to the table, much needed these dark cold days of winter.

  5. Hi Mimi, I love your blog. The photos and the recipes are amazing. It’ s my birthday tomorrow and I’m planning to make a Mimi inspired dinner. What kind of wine would you recommend for this chicken recipe?
    As it is March I’d like to start with your spring soup and finish either with a classic dessert like mousse au chocolat or a cake.
    I would love to hear your advice.

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