Begin by taking the chicken from the fridge about an hour before you intend to cook it (if it’s a hot day, give it about 30 minutes only), and remove the string that holds the legs of the bird together so that the joints are loose – this will take the chill off the bird and help it to cook in the shorter time.
Now put 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the roasting tin and toss the onion, lemon and garlic in it. Then push everything to the sides of the tin and place the chicken in the middle. Rub the rest of the olive oil all over the skin of the bird. Then arrange the onion wedges, lemon and garlic cloves around the chicken. Season well with salt and black pepper and then scatter the thyme leaves and the small sprigs of thyme over everything in the tin.
Now roast the chicken for an hour and then transfer it to a carving board, along with the red onions, lemon and garlic. Cover the bird with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, using a tablespoon, skim off the excess fat from the juices in the roasting tin, then place the tin over direct heat, add the wine and let the whole lot bubble and reduce to about half its original volume. Stir the crème fraîche and a small squeeze of lemon juice into the sauce and when it has warmed through, taste and check the seasoning. Then carve the chicken and place on to warm plates, making sure everyone has a piece of onion and lemon and some garlic. Add any juices to the sauce and finally, spoon some sauce over the chicken and serve the leftover sauce in a jug.
You can squeeze the garlic out of the cloves as you eat it, and scrape off the lemony flesh fromthe skins.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).
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