Tag Archives: roast chicken

Juicy Herb-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

3 Jan

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.

2014-12-25 14.08.49 roast chickenIf 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. Continue reading


Splayed Roast Chicken (adapted from Melissa Clark)

2 Mar

I had a craving for a roast chicken and Stop & Shop had a sale on whole organic birds and it was a rare lazy Saturday with almost nothing on the schedule…so the stars aligned and I got to planning a proper weekend lunch for me and my boy. I have several terrific roast chicken recipes (see links below), but wanted to try something new and I seemed to remember that the New York Times’ Melissa Clark was roasting birds in a new way.

I really enjoy Ms. Clark’s recipes and short videos. Her techniques tend to be very simple and unfussy and I have gotten many good ideas from her work. I would like to do something similar for Latin and Puerto Rican cooking…who’s in?

Cutting the skin to release the legs (photo by Leandro de Cuba)

Cutting the skin to release the legs (photo by Leandro de Cuba)

A quick Google search got me to her video on splayed chicken and I was inspired! PLEASE NOTE: I had a big issue with my oven smoking, but the end result was so amazing that me and the boy agreed it was worth doing again, even though I had to shut him in the bathroom with the fan on and the window open and my eyes streaming and opening more windows to the frigid temperatures outside.



Mind you, I rarely use my tiny apartment stove because it sucks — uneven cooking, imprecise temperature settings, no indication of when you’ve reached the temperature that you want, just awful – and I head down to use my parents’ whenever I want to roast or bake or broil anything that doesn’t fit in my fancy toaster oven.

Into the skillet. Raw whole chicken always looks vaguely sordid to me. I popped this one right into the oven before it got to me...

Into the skillet. Raw whole chicken always looks vaguely sordid to me. I popped this one right into the oven before it got to me…

So it may very well have been a function of unmentionable stuff burning toxic something that I don’t really want to think about, but I had to lower the heat a bit towards the end which helped somewhat and the child kept himself busy in the bathroom until the air had cleared out the windows. I don’t know why the smoke alarm didn’t go off, which is also worrying…I will be writing to Ms. Clark to ask her if this has ever happened to her and will keep you posted on her response. Continue reading

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken (Third Bird from Hardscrabble pastured chicken project!)

26 Sep

Trisha Hardgrove’s pastured chicken project at Restoration Farm is a complete success as far as we in the de Cuba Romero household are concerned. These birds are so beautiful to work with, so wonderfully textured, so flavorful, that they almost cook themselves. Going back to conventional factory-raised chicken is pretty much out of the question now, but even organic supermarket chicken cannot compare.

Having said that, we can all use a little enhancement to highlight our best features, and this simple roasting recipe, inspired by The Barefoot Contessa, is just the thing. The result was a juicy, tender bird and juicy, tender vegetables, infused with — but not overwhelmed by — lemon, thyme and garlic.

The original recipe called for the bird to be slathered with butter, but here we prefer olive oil. Mind you, we did NOT get a crispy skin, which may be what you are looking for. In that case, substitute same amount of melted butter. She also uses a fennel bulb where we use celery – again, just personal preference. This was a meal my dad, Pedro, and I did together – it is thanks to him that we were fearless with the salt. You really do want that much. We did not, however, put any additional salt on the vegetables and they didn’t need it. You can always finish them with salt at table.

The amount of thyme may seem a lot, but it really flavors the chicken and the vegetables. I am fortunate to have a bumper crop of French thyme in my container herb garden, so it was no problem for us. If you are buying at the store, you will want the equivalent of two fat fistfuls of sprigs for the whole recipe.

Lemon-Thyme Roast Chicken and Vegetables

1 4-5 lb roasting chicken

2 Tbs kosher salt, plus 1 tsp

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus several pinches

1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs

1 lemon, rinsed and sliced in half

1 head of garlic, unpeeled, but root end sliced off as much as you can. Slice the head in half, crosswise (through the cloves)

2 Tbs olive oil

1-1.5 cups onion, sliced thick (yellow, red or a mix of the two is fine)

2 Cups carrots, chopped into 1.5”chunks

1 Cup chopped celery

1-2 Cups additional chopped roasting vegetables of your choice – potatoes, turnips, parsnips, fennel for example

2 Tbs olive oil

Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out, remove excess fat and pin feathers and pat dry.

Use the 2 Tbs salt and 1 Tbs pepper to salt and pepper the inside of the bird, then stuff the cavity with the thyme, lemon and garlic.

Brush the outside of the chicken with 2 Tbs olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wings under the body. Place the onions, carrots and celery in the roasting pan and toss with the remaining olive oil and 20 sprigs of thyme. Place the chicken, breast side up, on top of the vegetables.

Roast the chicken for 1.5 hours (to an internal temperature of 165° or until the juices run clear when you stick a knife between leg and thigh and the joints move freely in the sockets). Remove chicken and vegetables from roasting pan, arrange on a platter and let rest under a loose foil cover for 20 minutes before serving.

In the spirit of efficacy and energy-efficiency, we simultaneously roasted beets for a future salad and oven-fried potatoes (recipe to come). For the beets, simply cut off beet greens to an inch above the beet, wash and dry, wrap loosely in foil and stick in the oven with the bird. The beets will be done when the chicken is done. You can easily peel them and serve them with the chicken, or save them for something else in the next day or two.

Rosemary and Lemon Roasted Chicken (love it hot or cold)

1 Sep

Things in the kitchen are speeding up for me as I return to teaching, Leandro returns to daycare, and the summer harvest continues to be really bountiful. Ironically, almost everyone I know who would usually help me prepare/eat all this food has been away, including Allison, with whom my family splits our farm share.

So I’ve been going nuts trying to cook or preserve it all while also gearing up for the new semester. Yeah, I am overwhelmed.

But, I am also compelled to share recipes and this one is a goodie – a simple yet sophisticated roast chicken (I am very fond of roast chicken) that comes out subtle and juicy and really showed off the fine qualities of the pastured chickens Trisha Hardgrove has been producing at Restoration Farm. The texture and grain of these birds is far superior to anything I’ve had from a supermarket or specialty store (including expensive organic or “natural” birds). They even look cleaner and healthier that a commercial bird when plucked and when I am cutting into them.

Since I believe in packing the oven whenever possible, I made Slow-Roasted Cherry Tiny Tomatoes https://hotcheapeasy.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/slow-roasted-grape-tomatoes-for-pasta-bruschetta-or-sandwiches/at the same time. This dish would also be very fine with string beans (now at distribution at our CSA) or roasted summer squash (abundant right now).

I made this ahead of Hurricane Irene and brought the chicken and tomatoes over to the kind neighbors who had us sleep over their house on the night the storm hit (I got spooked by the banging on the roof). It made a terrific cold lunch when the power was out. Hot or cold, roast chicken brings comfort.

Rosemary and Lemon Roasted Chicken

1 roasting chicken (4-5 lbs), giblets removed

Olive oil for rubbing

4 cloves garlic, minced into a tsp coarse salt

Juice of two juicy lemons (Meyer lemons are recommended, but if you haven’t got, be prepared to add ½ tsp sugar or a tsp of orange juice to the rub), squeezed lemons reserved

¼ Cup coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves (may add another ¼ Cup fresh, or supplement with a smaller amount of dried rosemary) plus 8 rosemary sprigs

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Coarse salt

Preheat oven to 375°F and place rack in the center. Rinse and dry the chicken with paper towels, trimming and discarding extra fat.

Place chicken breast side down on roasting pan (you may also use roasting rack to good effect) and rub the oil and half the garlic onto the skin. Pour half the lemon juice on the back (along with sugar or orange juice), as well as half the chopped rosemary and half the cayenne.

Turn the chicken over and gently separate the skin from the breast, leaving skin on. Insert on rosemary sprig on each side. Then repeat the rub with more oil and the remaining garlic, lemon juice, rosemary and cayenne. Sprinkle on additional coarse salt to taste.

Tuck a rosemary sprig under each wing and the remaining four sprigs in the cavity with the squeezed-out lemons.

Bake the chicken, breast side up, basting once or twice, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (without touching bone) registers 170°F (1 to 1.5 hours).

Before serving, let the chicken rest, covered loosely with aluminum foil, for 20 minutes.

(This recipe was inspired by”Kathy’s Rosemary-Roasted Chicken” in Food To Live By, by Myra Goodman –the Earthbound Farm lady!)

Tandoori-Style Roasted Chicken (great hot or cold!)

26 Aug

We picked up another pastured bird from our share at Restoration Farm this week, which reminded me how delicious the last one turned out.

While I decide what to do with this one (as Hurricane Irene churns her diabolical way up the Eastern Seaboard in our direction and I am checking batteries, gathering candles and surveying our canned goods), let me share this easy and extremely tasty recipe that tasted great right out of the oven, but also made for an excellent quick-grab out of the fridge in the following days, re-heated as well as cold!

This tandoori-style chicken was a recipe for whole chicken that Leandro picked out from a magazine (EveryDay Food, from Martha Stewart). He thought the picture looked very tasty and we had everything we needed in the house, except maybe the ginger. Since I am encouraging him to start eating chicken off the bone, letting him select the recipe worked out very well. I just tweaked the original to our tastes (more garlic, more spice) and it was smooth sailing!

Tandoori-style oven-roasted chicken

1 whole chicken (4-4.5 lbs), rinsed, patted dry and quartered (skin on)

1 cup plain non- or low-fat yogurt

½ yellow onion, roughly chopped

2-inch piece ginger, peeled (with vegetable peeler) and sliced

3 garlic cloves, peeled

3 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1 tsp ground cumin

1 – 1.5 tsp ground coriander

1 Tbs vegetable oil

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Place chicken pieces in a gallon-size zip-top bag. In a blender or food processor, blend all other ingredients until smooth and pour into bag. Seal and shake and refrigerate (4 hours to overnight).

Preheat oven to 500°F. Place a wire rack in a foil-lined baking sheet with sides. Place chicken parts on rack, skin side down, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Roast until begins to char and flip for a total of about 35 minutes. Reduce heat to 450°F and roast until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 more minutes (insert meat thermometer into thickest part of thigh to check). Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

Spring Roast: Chicken and Vegetables with Rosemary & Mustard Sauce

3 May

Surprisingly light!

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!)

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