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Roast Chicken with Cranberry and Thyme Butter

Although it may appear in the photo that the top of chicken has over-browned, fear not, the deep mahogany color is a layer of chopped dried cranberries and fresh thyme-butter just below the skin. Basically basting the bird from the inside, this procedure produces an extremely moist and flavorful chicken. Veggies cook beneath the chicken for a complete and seamless meal.

Roast Chicken with Cranberry and Thyme Butter

1½ oz. dried cranberries (½ cup)
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, 4 fresh thyme sprigs, plus extra to garnish
5 tbs. butter, softened
4 lb. roasting chicken
1 red onion, cut into wedges
4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 leeks, rinsed and cut into chunks
1 tbs. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Put the cranberries in a bowl and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Leave to soak for about 10 minutes, then drain and finely chop. Combine with the softened butter, thyme, and salt and freshly ground black pepper, mixing together well.

Carefully lift the skin away from the chicken breast and stuff with the fruity butter. Tumble the vegetables into a large roasting tray, then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter over the 4 thyme sprigs. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, drizzle with a little more oil and season well.

Roast for 1 hour, or until the juices run clear when poked in the leg or thigh. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with the roasted vegetables and garnish with more thyme sprigs.

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