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Lemon and thyme roast chicken pieces with roast vegetables

July 14, 2013

Roast chicken with lemon and thyme

I love cooking up simple and rustic dishes, and this unassuming yet flavourful dish of roast chicken pieces fits the bill perfectly. There’s minimal preparation and the flavours from the lemon, thyme and garlic come together effortlessly.

I save roasting a whole chicken for when we have guests over – it’s just so satisfying presenting and carving a whole chicken at the dinner table surrounded by the expectant faces of family and friends. But when there are only the 2 of us to cook for, using chicken pieces is the more time-saving and convenient option.

Roast potatoes and thyme

There are plenty of roast chicken recipes out there – slow roasted for almost 3 hours ala Nigella, or firstly allowing the skin to render and brown in a hot pan – as in this Bon Appetit magazine recipe. As always with most of my cooking, I wanted something easy to prepare and with minimal cleaning after, so the recipe that follows does the trick.

To enhance the lemon and garlicky flavours, I prepared the chicken an hour before roasting. While the chicken was waiting to be roasted, I moved on to preparing the vegetables.

The roasting time for the chicken will vary depending on the size of your chicken pieces and how closely packed they are placed on the roasting dish. You can use all thighs or as I did, chicken legs. I set the vegetables to roast on the bottom rack in the oven for 30 minutes, then the chicken pieces on the middle rack for the last 30 minutes so that everything could be done at around the same time.

Lastly, I removed the tiny thyme leaves from their stems by pulling the stems through my fingers from top to bottom, against the direction of the stems. Six average sprigs will yield about a tablespoon of leaves.

Roast potatoes and cherry tomatoes

What you’ll need

For the roast chicken pieces

  • 1 lemon
  • 2  cloves of garlic, finely minced and pressed with the back of a knife
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • coarse sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 chicken legs (or 4 pieces of chicken thighs)

For the roast potatoes and carrots

  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into batons
  • olive oil for roasting
  • 3 cloves of garlic, skin on and smashed with the back of a knife
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
  • coarse sea salt and pepper to taste

Preparing the chicken pieces for roasting

  1. Slice half the lemon thinly and set aside. Squeeze the juice of the other half into a small bowl. Add the garlic, thyme leaves and olive oil, along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Give the mixture a good stir.
  2. Set the chicken pieces skin side up, on a roasting dish and rub the mixture into the chicken pieces. Top with the lemon slices, cover with cling film and set aside for an hour.

Roast potatoes

To roast your potatoes and carrots

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  2. Put the potatoes and carrots in a large pot of salted, boiling water on a high heat and bring back to the boil. Allow to boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain in a colander and allow the vegetables to steam dry. Take the carrots out and set aside.
  4. Return the potatoes to the empty pot and fluff them up by shaking them around a little so that they will have crispy bits when they’re cooked.
  5. Put a medium roasting dish over a medium heat and add a few generous glugs of olive oil to the dish. Add the garlic and thyme leaves, saving about a teaspoon of thyme leaves to garnish the roasted chicken pieces and vegetables before serving.
  6. Put the potatoes and carrots into the dish with the salt and pepper; stir them around to coat in the flavours. Spread them out evenly in one layer.
  7. Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until golden and crispy.

To roast your chicken pieces

  1. Remove the cling film covering the chicken, add a final light sprinkling of sea salt and roast for about 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the roasted chicken pieces from the oven together with the potatoes and carrots. Garnish with some thyme leaves. Sprinkle a small pinch of coarse sea salt on the potatoes. Serve with some fresh cherry tomatoes for a simple happy meal.

Yields 2 servings

Roast chicken and roast potatoes

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2013 1:33 AM

    Simple food like this is always what I’d prefer to eat. Husband always gravitates to minimal washing up i.e. one pot!

  2. July 15, 2013 4:19 AM

    I lve to eat food like this in France as the chicken out there is just amazing. A perfect meal for me and one all of the family would enjoy. We all love a good crisp skin, nothing quite like it. Why would you eat a skinless chicken breast when you have the leg to enjoy!

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