I love a simple roast bird for a sit-down family meal. It looks so special, but is so easy to do and the vegetables are cooked right alongside the bird (getting all that juicy seasoned chicken stock as the bird releases it) and can be plunked as is on the table if you don’t want to put it on a platter, which means less clean-up. This is the dinner that cooks itself while you are doing other things, encourages family to linger around the table, and keeps on giving way after the meal is over.
If there is leftover meat, you can make wonderful chicken salad that tastes so much richer than your average cooked chicken from the deli (I like it with sliced black olives and bits of sundried tomato). The carcass makes great stock too, simmered with a dozen peppercorns, a carrot and a celery stalk, a peeled onion and unpeeled garlic cloves sliced in half.
Here then, is a pretty basic version that is aromatized with herbs, spiked with citrus, and cooked relatively slowly for juicy tenderness. There are as many variations as you have herbs in your arsenal; this is what I was in the mood for, but you could certainly substitute whatever seasonings grab your fancy. We had this one for a small family Christmas Day meal! Scroll down for links to more roast chicken recipes.
Herb-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
1 Tbs garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme (in the absence of fresh, don’t use powdered; substitute fresh or dry marjoram or sage)
1 tsp fresh oregano (1/2 tsp dry)
½ tsp salt (preferably coarse)
1-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
4.5-5 lbs roasting chicken, giblets removed, patted dry with paper towel
Squeeze of Clementine (or other orange-type citrus fruit)
½ red onion, peeled and quartered
2 clementines, sliced in half (or other orange-type citrus fruit, 1 quartered if large or 2 halved if small)
3 sprigs rosemary
1 Cup each broccoli crowns (peeled and chopped broccoli stems will work too); halved and thickly sliced potato; peeled and sliced carrots; peeled and quartered onion – red/yellow; or your choice of winter vegetables, cubed.
1 Tbs chopped garlic scapes or garlic cloves
Additional olive oil for vegetables
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a mortar and pestle, smash garlic, thyme, oregano, and salt into a paste. Add 1-2 Tbs olive oil and blend well. Spread paste all over chicken, including on the breasts under the skin. Squeeze on clementine juice.
Stuff bird with red onion and rosemary sprigs and place in a 9×13 baking pan, breast side up. Tuck wings under bird and truss legs with kitchen twine so the stuffing stays in place.
Roast for 20 minutes per pound of chicken, but after 30 minutes, open the oven and add the vegetables (including garlic) around the bird, drizzling thoroughly with additional oil. Roast until internal temperature taken at the thickest part of the thigh, (without touching the bone) is 170°. Start checking after about an hour, depending on your oven, and turn the vegetables at that time.
When chicken is done, remove from oven and rest for about 10 minutes before discarding stuffing. You may salt the vegetables to taste at this point.
You may also like:
Splayed Roast Chicken (adapted from Melissa Clark)
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas (The Heat is ON!)
Tando0ri-Style Roast Chicken (Great hot or cold)