I have officially become a roast chicken convert. Handyman Tim and I have been married coming on 12 years. As a new bride in 2001 I became obsessed with Food Network and all things Ina Garten. Everywhere I looked, celebrity chefs were touting how easy, how basic, how essential it is to have roast chicken in your cooking repertoire. So I whipped out our shiny new kitchen gifts and tried my hand at roasting a bird.
We’re lucky we didn’t die of salmonella.
I felt betrayed. Lied to. Then I felt silly, maybe I had misread the instructions. This is a kitchen basic, right? I must have missed the easy part. So I tried again. The next time, it was dried out, tough, and barely edible.
I tossed my hands up in frustration and avoided most roasted meats for the next 11 years.
Then along came Dinner: A Love Story. Between Jenny Rosentrach’s phenomenal writing style and Jennifer Causey’s incredible food photography, I was immediately obsessed with the idea of trying my hand one last time at roasting a chicken. The gorgeous photograph of the homemade chicken stock she makes from the remaining chicken bits and then the drool-worthy shot of her homemade chicken soup she makes from the stock had me immediately intrigued.
I followed Jenny’s simple instructions to a T. Handyman Tim nearly wept with joy when I served dinner that night. Between the 4 of us in our little family there was not a single scrap of chicken, potatoes, or carrots left at the end of the meal.
I took those chicken bones and made my first ever batch of stock and then my first ever batch of homemade chicken soup and now the whole family is addicted to chicken. This has graced our table nearly weekly since sometime mid-December. You’d think we’d be sick of it by now, but not a chance.
So as a roasted chicken convert with a very checkered history of roasting meats, I swear to you this is the easiest most fool-proof method for roasting a chicken known to man. The meat is tender, juicy, and so so flavorful. The vegetables are that perfect combination of soft with crispy edges and everything gets just a little bit sweet from the butter and lemon drippings. The kitchen smells out of this world and nothing could possibly be more comforting and wholesome than this.
Thank you Jenny. You are an absolute game changer!
If you’d like to see more drool-worthy recipes to get your year off to a healthier start, please be sure to click through to my friends from The Inspired Plate as we each share our take on the theme “Healthy.” Next up is:
I can’t wait to see what Allison has in store for us this month!
Roasted chicken with potatoes, onions, and carrots
Adapted from “Dinner: A Love Story” by Jenny Rosentrach
6 red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into large chunks
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 onion, cut into large chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 whole roasting chicken (I don’t usually talk about brands, but I’m in love with the Smart Chickens found at our local store. I usually go with a 4 pounder.) Rinsed, inside and out, and patted dry.
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 lemon, scrubbed and pierced several times with a knife
1 small bunch of fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large roasting pan* toss the potatoes, carrots, and onions with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. (*Please Note: The photos above are staged to be pretty, I use an industrial sized roasting pan with tall walls so the veggies lay out in a single layer and my oven is saved from splatters.) Roast the veggies for 15 minutes.
While the veggies are roasting, wash the chicken and pat it dry. Stuff the cavity with the lemon and then the bunch of thyme. Gently tie the legs together if needed. (My Smart Chickens come already loosely tied.) Massage the melted butter all over the surface of the chicken–breasts, legs, wings, and thighs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
When the timer rings from the veggies, remove the pan from the oven. Toss with a large spatula to prevent burning on the bottoms. Place the chicken on the bed of vegetables. Insert a cooking probe thermometer into the fleshiest part of the thigh. Place the roaster back into the oven. Cook until the meat in the thigh reaches 180 degrees. (About 18-20 minutes per pound.)
The bird should be golden brown with crispy skin. Carve and serve with the vegetables.
PLEASE: When dinner is over, be absolutely sure to put that chicken body (bones, lemon and crispy thyme bunch and all) into a Ziploc bag. If you don’t feel you’ll have time to make stock the next day, toss the bag into the freezer. And then come back tomorrow for the next steps!