Lemon & Garlic Roast Chicken with Braised Little Gem Lettuces

Cooking time
Serves4-6 people
Gluten-free diets
Lemon & Garlic Roast Chicken with Braised Little Gem Lettuces

A Sunday roast with plenty of zest thanks to a fragrant lemon chicken rub combined with fresh lemons, bay, garlic and mint. Braising baby lettuces in chicken stock and butter will make you rethink that salad box staple and have your reaching for your roasting tin whenever you need an exciting side dish this autumn.

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  • 1.7kg whole chicken
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1 tbsp lemon chicken rub
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 300ml boiling water
  • 4 little gem lettuces
  • 75g butter
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A handful of mint leaves, chopped
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1. Heat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Remove the chicken from its packaging. Put the giblets back in the fridge to make your own chicken stock later (see our tip at the end for the how-to).
2. Zest 1 lemon into a bowl. Peel and grate 1 garlic clove into the bowl. Add 1 tbsp of the lemon chicken rub and 2 tbsp olive oil. Mix together then set the rub to one side.
3. Cut the zested lemon in half and place it in the cavity of the chicken. Halve the garlic bulb and pop that in too along with a bay leaf. Place the chicken into a roasting tin.
4. Carefully separate the skin from the chicken breasts, lifting it up with your fingers or the end of a wooden spoon. Take care not to break the skin. Push half of the lemon and garlic rub under the skin and carefully massage over the chicken breasts. Pop a couple of bay leaves under the skin too. Rub the remaining mix over the top of the chicken
5. Pour 300ml chicken stock into the tray, taking care not to get any on the chicken. Cover the tray with foil and slide into the oven for 1 hr. After 1 hr, remove the chicken from the oven and discard the foil. Ladle most of the stock carefully out of the tin into a jug and put to one side for later. Turn the oven up to 200°C/Fan 190°C/Gas 6. Slide the chicken back into the oven for 20 mins till the chicken is browned.
6. Check the chicken is cooked through by piercing the thigh, near the bone. The juices should run clear. If not slide the chicken back in to the oven till they do. Lift the chicken on to a plate and cover with foil to keep it warm whilst it rests.
7. While the chicken is resting, pour the stock back into the tin. Trim the ends from the baby gem lettuces and remove any tatty leaves. Cut the lettuces in half lengthways. Place the lettuces in the tin and turn them over carefully in the hot stock. Dot over the butter and scatter over some salt and pepper. Slide them into the oven for 20 mins, turning them once or twice till they are tender and lightly browned.
8. Carve the chicken and serve with the braised lettuce halves. Spoon over the buttery stock sauce and scatter over some chopped mint leaves.
9. CHICKEN STOCK Keep your chicken carcass and boil it up with the giblets and some veggies to make your own delicious chicken stock. Store it in the freezer in small containers and defrost when ready to use. See our how to here: https://www.abelandcole.co.uk/recipes/how-to-make-your-own-stocks
10. LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS A little chicken goes a long way. Pick all the chicken meat from the bones and store it in the fridge with any more left over chicken meat for up to 3 days. Leftovers can pep up a salad, be heated in a spicy Vietnamese broth with noodles or make a cracking sarnie with lashings of mayo and chutney.
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