Lemon, Pepper & Garlic Roast Chicken with Haricot Beans

This is one of those recipes thought up when you’re trying to make the best of a great element with what you have to hand.

I felt like creating a vibrant spring / summer recipe one weekend off but I had a beautiful free range chicken in the fridge that needed it’s place in the world and I didn’t just want to roast it normally, let it cool and do a salad and it was certainly too warm to do ANYTHING that involved roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings (can they be a thing with chicken? Who knows….feel free to vocalise any opinions on that one!).

So I got thinking on the drive home from work about what I could do with this chicken…and decided to just do a bit of a kitchen stocktake when I got in and see what the heck I could think up. I knew I really wouldn’t fancy a trip to the supermarket after a long old weekend at work and commuting and just wanted to enjoy my day in the kitchen and get something in the oven that would let me get on with other things. So it definitely had to be imagined up from whatever was kicking about…so in I got in, kicked off my shoes, poured a glass of wine, swore a bit about blisters and it being too hot, and got down to the important business of looking out ingredients.

It didn’t take long until I spied the half bag of dried haricot beans trying to hide in the corner of a cupboard, wrestled them out of their hiding place and started to devise a plan. Not far away there was a lemon who looked like he was shirking it as well, so he got added to the ingredient list, along with half a bulb of garlic that looked like it needed something to do.

I knew I wanted something healthy, not overly heavy but filling all the same, but mostly something zesty and absolutely buzzing with flavour. It also works really well with a salad or a lovely slice of toasted sourdough.

I’m not normally one to go all in with lemon, but I decided to try something…and I’m glad I did. I went a bit mad with the lemon. And the garlic. And the black pepper. This one does NOT shy away from flavour.

And I’m not apologising.


1 x garlic bulb, broken into cloves but no need to peel

2 x small lemons or 1 medium / large

5/6 sprigs of fresh thyme

50g butter (salted)

Sea Salt

Black pepper (preferably whole peppercorns ready to grind fresh)

1 x free range chicken, 1.5k approx.

200g dried haricot beans (soaked overnight)


  • Next day, rinse the beans and put in fresh cold water in a pan and bring to boil. Simmer for five minutes. Remove any foam from the water and leave to cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the chicken and roasting pan – scatter half the garlic cloves in the bottom of the roasting tray with a few sprigs of thyme. Chop a lemon into quarters and scatter them in with the garlic. Crumble over a chicken stock cube and grind over some black pepper. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan).
  • Chop another lemon into small chunks and add this, a few more thyme sprigs and the remaining garlic cloves to the chicken cavity.
  • Generously cover the top of the chicken with room temperature softened butter, season with sea salt and a very generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
  • Drain the beans and scatter across the bottom of the baking tray. If you have one to hand, use a supporting rack to hold the chicken or place on top of the beans.
  • Fill the bottom of the baking tray with enough water to cover the beans and place the tray in the oven. Wander off somewhere and do something else for a while – popping back now and then to make sure the tray doesn’t dry out.
  • Cook until chicken is tender and the legs and thighs are easy to pull away. Take the chicken out to rest, cover in tin foil and then some tea towels, top up liquid in the roasting tray if needed and return beans to the oven until thoroughly tender.
  • Scoop out the beans, removing garlic cloves and leftover thyme sprigs and lemon chunks. Drain the remaining liquid into a small jug or gravy boat and serve as a side along with the beans.
  • Carve the chicken, dig in and enjoy!

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