Written by Elizabeth Nyland of Guilty Kitchen
If there’s one thing that must be eaten at least weekly in our house it is this simple, rustic dish of roasted chicken and root vegetables. Why? You ask. Well for one, it usually leaves substantial enough leftovers for lunches to be made for whomever desires them. Another reason is because, contrary to its appearance, it’s amazingly simple and quick to make.
Getting home from work at a somewhat late afternoon time doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have time to make a wonderfully satisfying dinner that will suit just about anybody’s needs. Roasted chicken, as per this recipe, can be done in no time at all and come out unfailingly moist and succulent on the inside while creating that crackly, perfectly crisp skin on the outside.
ALL photos by Elizabeth Nyland
The root vegetables are an inexpensive, filling and ultimately healthy side dish and cook up quite well in the time the chicken needs to be perfect. Even if you timed it wrong or cut up your vegetables too large to cook evenly, the chicken deserves its 20 minutes of rest before carving. Ample time to allow the undercooked vegetables to be done without anyone the wiser.
The other beauty of this recipe is that it can be done in varying ways. It works equally good for goose and turkey (see above picture) and can even be used with cut up chicken pieces which are usually a bargain at most grocery stores (see below pictures).
Time and time again I have impressed friends and family alike with finger lickin’ good chicken with little to no effort. Once the vegetables are cut up, the chicken stuffed, rubbed and inserted into the oven, all you have to do is pour yourself a glass of wine, set some vegetables to steam and take a seat on the couch. You could also pair it with a light salad if you’re feeling fancy.
Recipe: Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables
- 1 3-5lb. roasting chicken **
- 4 small sprigs each fresh rosemary (or thyme, sage, oregano, etc.)
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup or so of grapeseed or macadamia nut oil
- kosher or sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 small sweet potato
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
- 2 large carrots, peeled
- 1 large sweet onion
1. Two hours before you begin, take the chicken out of the refrigerator to bring it up to room temperature. Tip: Always start cooking meat from room temperature as it ensures even cooking throughout.
2. Dry chicken inside and out with paper towels (alternately you can leave it in the fridge uncovered for a day as well and really dry it out) and season the cavity with coarse salt and pepper.
3. Put two sprigs of rosemary, 4 cloves of the squashed garlic and 1/2 a lemon into the cavity. Set the bird on a platter breast side up and rub with oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip the bird over and repeat on the back and legs.
4. Preheat your oven for 425°F. Meanwhile, cut up your vegetables into large chunks about 1 1/2″ square. In a bowl, toss the vegetables with the remaining herbs, garlic and about an 1/8 of a cup of grapeseed or macadamia nut oil. Season with salt and pepper and place in a large, deep roasting dish. Uncover an area in the center for the chicken.
5. Place chicken in center of roasting dish, back side up. That’s right, back side up (as in breast side down). Tip: Believe me, this will create a most succulent of breasts and the best crunchy skin ever. Roast in 425°F oven for 25-35 minutes (more towards the 35 minute mark if the bird is closer to 5 pounds), then turn the oven down to 375°F and roast for an additional 60-75 minutes.
Chicken is done when internal temperature (measured at the thickest part of the thigh) reaches 165°F… though I prefer to go a little higher to 180°F. I find that the meat next to the legs and thighs needs that extra temperature to be completely cooked through. Don’t worry it won’t be dry, I promise.
7. Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and set on a wooden board to rest for 20 minutes. If the vegetables are not yet done, return them to oven and continue to roast while chicken rests.
8. Carve your chicken and serve with accompanying vegetables or salad to round out the meal.
- Turkey: Follow all steps the same until #6. Leave an 8-12lb. turkey or goose in the 425°F oven for at least 45 minutes. Then turn down and check temperature after 1 hour. When it reaches at least 165°F, it’s done!
- Legs and Thighs: Follow the directions accordingly, but cook for only 20 minutes at 425°F and then for approximately 35 minutes at 375°F. Use a thermometer to check doneness or if you trust your self, wiggle a leg. It should be quite loose feeling if done right.
What is your go-to comfort food? Do you ever prepare a meal just for the leftovers?
Editor’s note: Sadly, this will be Elizabeth’s last post as a contributor on Simple Bites as she is launching a new business among other endeavours. We want to wish her all the best in that new adventure! You can still follow her culinary creations over at Guilty Kitchen. Liz, thank you for being a part of Simple Bites. You will be missed!.