The weather is showing signs of heating up for summer, but there is still cool weather enough to turn the oven on and roast up a chicken, which is exactly what I did for my part of Easter Sunday supper. I always feel like a French country lady when I have roast chicken and vegetables; it’s honest and true food that is not at all plain or boring.In fact, done right (and it is easy to do right), it can be luminous.
This dinner came on the heels of a visit to Long Island’s North Fork, so the vegetables were fresh, organic and local (carrots from Sang Lee Farms, turnips from Garden of Eve, plus my dad accompanied his sublime grilled baby lamb chops – hope to snag you that recipe — with smashed fingerling potatoes and baby spinach from Sang Lee).
It was an easy-going day and an easy-going meal that really celebrated Spring and Family and Resurrection and all that. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc from Chile was the refreshing accompaniment. A pretty day.
Roast Chicken and Vegetables with Rosemary-Mustard Marinade
1/3 Cup your favorite prepared mustard (Dijon or whole-grain works well. I used a somewhat spicy Swedish-style brown, which was nice and subtle. I stay away from ballpark-style flavored mustard here and you should too!)
1/3 cup olive oil, plus a tablespoon or so
1.5 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary leaves (and one whole sprig)
1 4-5 lb. roasting chicken, giblets removed
2 large red onions, peeled and cut into eight wedges each
1.5-2 lbs mixed turnips and carrots, peeled and cut into 1-1.5” chunks
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk mustard, 1/3 cup oil and rosemary in a bowl. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel and place in a roasting pan. Brush with half of mustard mixture. With your hands, rub extra Tbs olive oil on the breast side of the chicken, under the skin. Place rosemary sprig in the chicken cavity. Roast until thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 170°F, chicken is golden brown and the legs move easily in the sockets when jiggled.
Meanwhile, toss vegetables with all but one tablespoon mustard mixture (reserve that for sauce) and spread into a lightly-oiled large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender and slightly browned (about one hour), stirring twice. Finish with a grating of flaky sea salt, if you’ve got or just allow diners to add salt at table.
Transfer chicken to serving platter. Spoon off the fat from the pan, then heat the pan over two burners. Whisk in broth and reserved mustard mixture and boil until reduced to about a cup. Add salt and pepper to taste and put in a gravy boat or other serving bowl. Arrange vegetables around chicken on the platter, garnish with any extra rosemary sprigs and serve with sauce.
(Note: the chicken and vegetables were so moist, none of us actually did more than try the sauce. Go ahead and put it on the table, but don’t be surprised if your guests find it superfluous).
(Note 2: Leftovers make great sandwich/salad fare. I also simmered the bones with onion and parsley for stock for a future meal. It is frozen and ready to go!)