Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Unwrap the chicken and remove the giblets (see our tip for how to make the most of them). Pop the chicken on a large plate and set it aside for 30 mins-1 hr to come to room temperature.
Scrub the carrot and slice it thickly on the angle (no need to peel). Peel and slice the onions into thin wedges. Thickly slice the celery stick. Scatter the carrot, onions and celery into a roasting tin. Sit the chicken on the veg. Halve the bulb of garlic through the middle. Tuck half the garlic into the cavity, along with a sprig of tarragon (keep the rest of the garlic and tarragon for later). Dust the chicken with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken for 1 hr. After 1 hr, remove the tin from the oven and baste the chicken with some of the roasting juices. Tuck the other half of the garlic bulb into the tin. Roast for 30 mins more till golden and the juices run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer. If the juices are still a little pink, roast for a further 5-10 mins and check again.
While the chicken cooks, strip the leaves from the remaining tarragon sprigs. Finely chop the leaves. Stir into the crème fraîche with the mustard.
Remove the chicken from the roasting tin, place it on a warm board or plate and loosely cover with foil. Rest for 30 mins-1 hr.
While the chicken rests, fill and boil your kettle. Stir 1 tbsp flour into the veg in the roasting tin. Pop the tin onto a hob and warm to a medium-low heat. Cook the flour and veg for 2 mins, stirring frequently, then pour in 300ml boiling water. Crumble in the stock cube. Simmer for 5 mins, continuing to stir well, till slightly thickened. Pour the gravy through a sieve into a gravy jug.
Serve the chicken with the gravy and spoonfuls of the tarragon crème fraîche.
Vichy carrots are a great spring side to go with your chicken. Slice carrots in half lengthways. Put in a wide, shallow pan with 2 tbsp butter, 1 tsp honey and some bay leaves if you have them. Season and pour in enough water to just come level with the carrots. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 mins till most of the liquid has evaporated and the carrots are tender.
A giblet stock is easy to make – just pop the giblets in a large pan with a sliced onion, chopped carrot, celery, a bay leaf and a few sprigs of thyme and parsley. Add 2 ltrs water. Cover, bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 hrs. Strain into a sealable container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. This stock is perfect for adding to soups, risottos and gravies.
Low waste, no waste
But wait! Your leftover chicken carcass can also be used to make a nourishing, versatile stock. Search for How to Make Your Own Stocks on abelandcole.co.uk/recipes for instructions.
If you receive your chicken on a Monday or Tuesday and want to save it for your Easter Sunday roast, check the date on the chicken. You may need to freeze it, then defrost it overnight in the fridge, ready for roasting.