Mary Berry’s French Roast Chicken

Chicken roasted in the traditional French style is particularly moist and succulent because of the stock added to the roasting tin. In France, the chicken liver is often cooked in a little butter, then sliced and added to the gravy, but this is optional.

Mary Berry’s simple recipe for French roast chicken takes all the stress out of cooking the perfect Sunday roast. I have a slightly different version based on the ingredients I had available.


  • 1 small bunch of tarragon or rosemary
  • 90g (3oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 1.7 – 2kg (3 ½ – 4lb) chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper300ml (½ pint)
  • Organic chicken stock
  • 4 heads of roast garlic, to serve
  • a good splash of red or white wine
  • Lemon slices and juice for added flavor (optional)

Recipe Preparation:

  1. Put the bunch of herbs and 30g (1oz) of the butter into the chicken’s cavity. Tie the legs together with string. Weigh the chicken and calculate the roasting time at 20 minutes per 500g (1lb), plus an extra 20 minutes.
  2. Rub the remaining butter all over the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Put the chicken, breast-side down, into a small roasting tin. Pour the stock into the tin’s bottom and cover the chicken with buttered greaseproof paper or foil. Roast in a preheated oven at 190°C (170°C fan, Gas 5) / 375°F for the calculated time. At regular intervals, baste the chicken and turn it first on to one side, then on to the other, and finally on to its back.
  4. Check that the chicken is done, then transfer to a warmed serving platter, and cover with foil.
  5. Leave the chicken to rest for about 15 minutes, then carve and serve with the cooking juices, boiled in the roasting tin with some red or white wine, and the roasted garlic.


Cut the stalk ends off 4 heads of garlic, arrange in an oiled baking dish, and drizzle a little olive oil over the tops. Cook in a preheated oven at 190°C (170°C fan, Gas 5) / 375°F for 45–60 minutes. To eat, squeeze the soft cloves of garlic from the papery skins.