Le Plat


Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: bay leaf, chicken, croutons, sea salt
Servings: 6 servings


  • 9 ounces;270g day old bread, cut into 1-1/2 inch (4cm) square chunks
  • 3 large cloves garlic peeled
  • One 3-1/2 to 4 pound; 1.75 to 2kg roasting chicken, with giblets
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 imported bay leaves
  • Flat leaf parsley stems for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 450 F (230 C).
  • Rub the chunks of bread on all sides with the garlic.
  • Pat the chicken dry all over with paper towels.
  • Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken, generously salt and pepper the cavity, and return the giblets. Squeeze the lemon into the cavity, then add the lemon itself as well as the thyme, pushing them in gently.
  • Slip 1 bay leaf between the skin and the meat on each side of the breast, gradually working your fingers under the skin to gently loosen it.
  • Truss the chicken and place it breast side up, on a rack if you like in a large, heatproof baking pan and pour ½ cup (125ml) water around it. Roast the chicken until it is nearly cooked through and very golden, about 50 minutes. Add the chunks of bread, arranging them around the chicken. Continue roasting until the leg joint moves easily when you rotate it, another 10 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the bird.
  • Remove the chicken from the dish and salt and pepper it generously all over. Place the bird on a cutting board, breast side down, and let it rest for 15 minutes. Stir the croutons in the baking dish so they are coated with the cooking juices and return them to the oven to continue to roast until they are golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven.
  • Carve the chicken and arrange it on a warmed platter. Thinly slice the giblets and add them to the platter. Then scatter the croutons around and over the chicken. Pour any cooking juices over the chicken and croutons, garnish with the thyme sprigs if desired, and serve.