Approx 2 kg / 4 lb chicken
Bouquet garni of fresh herbs such as parsley, celery, thyme, bay leaf
Approx 40 cloves of garlic – or more
Casserole with tight-fitting lid. Best of all is a clay “chicken brick” which holds the bird together without trussing; we never roast a chicken any other way.
Cut off the woody bottoms of the garlic cloves, twist each of them hard to loosen the skins and peel them (traditionally they are left unpeeled). Put them in the bottom of your casserole, add a tablespoon of olive oil and stir to coat the garlic.
Salt and pepper the interior of the chicken, rub it generously inside and out with olive oil and insert the bouquet garni. Truss it (if you don’t have a brick or close-fitting casserole) and place it on top of the garlic.
Roast in a 325ºC (Mark 3) oven for 1½ hours and check; it might require another ½ hour or more. The bird should be well browned, there should be lots of juice and the legs should move very freely.
Remove chicken carefully. This is easy with a long-handled wooden spoon inserted in the body cavity. Allow it to rest for up to ½ hour before carving, so that the juices set and don’t all drain away when it’s cut.
Remove the garlic cloves from the casserole with a slotted spoon.
Pour the juices into a fat-separator and allow to settle; then pour into a gravy boat or serving bowl (with some of the olive oil and chicken fat returned, in accordance with taste and conscience).
Serve the garlic separately, to be spread on toast or eaten with the chicken and its juices.