Preheat oven to 160°C. Pat the Ingham’s fresh whole chicken dry inside and out and tuck the wings underneath, then season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the olive oil into a preheated French oven set over a moderate heat, then place the chicken in breast-side down and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly-browned.
Carefully turn the chicken over and arrange the potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaves and rosemary around. Pour in the sherry, then place a sheet of lightly-damped non-stick baking paper on top, then fit the lid. Bake for 1½ hours, until a thermometer reads 78°C when tested at the hip and the meat is perfectly-tender and beginning to fall away from the drumsticks. Transfer to a roasting pan, cover with foil and set aside for 15 minutes to rest.
Strain the juices into a small saucepan and set over a low heat. Mix the cornflour with 1 Tbsp water, then whisk in a simmer until thickened. Stir in the lemon juice. Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables, parsley and gravy.
The best roast chicken is not the chook you know. Really, it’s true. Dry baking is great, but in fact there’s a very old French technique that take chicken to somewhere rally special. All you need is a traditional heavy pot with a fitting lid (it could be an enamelled cast iron, terracotta, or even just a regular old camp oven). The secret is in the way heavy pot transfer heat, and how the heavy lid locks in the pressure for a better bake.
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