Heston Blumenthal's ultimate roast chicken recipe from How to Cook Like Heston, made extra juicy by brining the bird the day before
Heston: "A firm family favourite made extra juicy by brining the chicken before roasting it then cooking it for a long time at a gentle temperature. Brining is a fantastic technique for keeping moisture in food and it is incredibly simple to do. It involves a little forethought but minimum effort and it will guarantee a juicy and succulent bird every time."
Warning: Whilst Heston cooks his chicken to an internal temperature of 60°C, if you want to stick to safety guidelines your chicken should reach 75°C in the thickest part of the breast.
For the gravy (optional)
1. Remove the trussing from the chicken then place it in a clean container. Pour over the brine ensuring that the chicken is submerged then cover the container with clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight.
2. Remove the chicken from the liquid and dry well with kitchen paper. Remove the wishbone and place on a cooling rack over a tray.
3. Preheat the oven to 90ºC (about fan 70°C, gas mark ¼ **PLEASE NOTE** ovens vary so use an oven thermometer to get an accurate temperature).
4. Roll and pierce the lemon then place it in the cavity of the bird with half the thyme. Rub some butter on top of the skin.
5. Place the chicken on the rack in a roasting tray and place in the oven. Roast the chicken until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast is 60ºC (this should take 3-4 hours).
6. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 45 minutes. Turn the oven temperature as high as it will go.
7. In the meantime, melt the butter in a pan and add 30ml wine and a few sprigs of thyme. Bring to the boil then remove the pan from the heat and use the melted butter to baste the chicken before and during browning.
8. Once the resting time has elapsed, put the chicken back in the roasting tray and return it to the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown, taking care that it doesn’t burn.
9. Once coloured, remove the chicken from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
10. To carve the chicken, remove the legs by slicing down where they meet the breast and splaying them outwards to expose the joint, which you can then sever.
11. Remove the breast by running a sharp knife deeply into the flesh along one side of the centre bone that extends the length of the bird, making a deep vertical cut. Then cut horizontally through the flesh at the bottom of the breast until the horizontal cut meets the vertical, separating the breast from the ribcage. Repeat the procedure on the other side of the centre bone. The breasts can then be laid cut-side down on the chopping board and sliced.
12. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
If making the gravy...
13. When the chicken has been browned and removed from the roasting tray, place the tray containing the juices on the hob over a medium-high heat. Add the white wine and scrape and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the chicken stock and cook until reduced to a sauce. Strain into a small saucepan.
14. Before serving, stir in the mustard and warm through. Finish with freshly chopped tarragon and parsley and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper