A classic roast chicken recipe with a light and herby stuffing.
Parsley stuffing adds a beautiful freshness to a roast chicken lunch. In this recipe, we’ve mixed it with lemon zest – a gorgeous Mediterranean flavour combination that lifts and brightens a meal. That summery taste makes this a great option for a spring or summer weekend. However, it’s also surprisingly nice in the depths of winter when sunshine is scarce. Parsley stuffing can be a delightful change to have something to cut through the stodginess of traditional winter staples. Parsley has a reputation as a breath freshener. In fact, that’s probably why it’s often used as a garnish on dishes. Originally, people would eat it at the end of the meal to cleanse the palette.
- 1 medium chicken (approx. 1.5kg)
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- 1-2tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- For the stuffing balls:
- 125g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 3-4 level tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- 1 level tbsp freshly chopped thyme
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 50g butter, melted
- 1 medium egg
Set the oven to 190°C/325°F/Gas Mark 5. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, then place the lemon wedges and thyme inside. Rub the olive oil over the skin of the chicken.
Put the onion and carrots in the roasting tin, place the chicken on top and season.
To make the stuffing, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together, then form into 6 balls. Chill them while the chicken is cooking.
Place the chicken in the centre of the oven and cook for 1 hour, then put the stuffing balls around the chicken and cook for a further 20-30 mins, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced in the thickest part, and the stuffing balls have started to turn golden. For a more accurate check, use a probe thermometer and make sure the temperature is above 70°C.
Remove the roasting tin from the oven and transfer chicken, stuffing balls and vegetables to a hot serving plate. Cover loosely with foil and leave in a warm place for the meat to rest. Even though the chicken isn’t in the oven, it will continue to rise in temperature and should reach at least 72°C.
Top tips for making parsley stuffing
Flat leaf and curly parsley are completely interchangeable - you can always use whichever one you have available. However, if you have the choice of the two, flat leaf parsley, with it darker green leaves and deeper, more robust flavour is particularly good in this recipe.