1 small chicken, or choose a game hen
1 bunch thyme
2 lemons, each cut in half, and in half again
olive oil, for brushing
segments from about 2 poached quince
Preheat your oven to 400°F (or 375°F, convection)
Remove any innards that may be inside the chicken, rinse and pat dry.
Place the chicken on your work surface, legs facing up, with the cavity open to you. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the flesh of the bird. Place a couple of thyme sprigs on each side. Fill the cavity with the rest of the thyme. Squeeze the lemons on the outside and inside of the bird, placing a few inside the cavity and others scattered around your baking dish. Season liberally with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil.
Pop into the oven and bake about 20 minutes. Remove the baking tray from the oven, add the poached quince slices, and move things around a bit (coating the lemon and quince in the bird juices, giving them the chance to brown and caramelize). Pop back in the oven and bake until the bird is cooked through, and things are looking delightfully browned and crispy.
Allow the birds to rest a few moments before serving. I like to pair this with saffron couscous and a bright, herb salad.