March has been a good month so far. Steven celebrated his 26th birthday, and we have been enjoying lovely spring weather. Hopefully we will have a snowier second half of the month.
Roasted chicken is one of the tastiest meals, and also seems to be one of the inaugural "tests" to being a good home cook. The key to a great roasted chicken lies in two things: quality of the bird and temperature of the oven. When you are shopping for a chicken, look for locally raised, fresh, vegetarian-fed birds. The word "organic" is much less important than these characteristics. Add roasted vegetables in a little chicken fat, and you have heaven. The best part is that this is a one-dish meal, worthy of your favorite dinner guests. Just buy a baguette or make a loaf of bread.
Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables
- 1 whole chicken
- 8 sprigs fresh rosemary
- ½ lemon
- 2 onions, cut into half moons (except the ½ for the cavity)
- 3-4 red potatoes, cut into 1 inch dice
- 1 small sweet potato (optional), cut into 1 inch dice
- 3 carrots, cut on an angle into 1 inch sections
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 475 F.
- Remove the neck and innards if they are still in the cavity of the chicken. Rinse and thoroughly dry the bird.
- Generously season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, add ½ of one of the onions, cut into quarters, ½ of a lemon and 5 sprigs of rosemary, and massage the inside of the bird to infuse it with the flavors. Truss the chicken.
- Combine carrots, onions, potatoes and 1 sprig of rosemary in 13x9 stoneware or pyrex and drizzle 2 TB of the olive oil over and stir to coat all vegetables.
- Rub the remaining oil over the chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper. Salting heavily creates a crispy skin.
- Take 2 remaining sprigs of rosemary and stuff underneath skin on top of breast.
- Make a nest in the center of the vegetables and nestle the chicken in it.
- Put the chicken in the oven and roast for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400 F and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until the temperature registers 160 F in the meatiest portions of the bird–the thighs, and under the breast where the thigh meets the breast–and the juices run clear. If necessary, return the bird to the oven for more roasting; check it every 5 minutes. Tent loosely with foil if the bird is browning too quickly.
- Transfer the chicken to a carving board or cooling rack, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Stir the vegetables to coat in fats and return pan to the oven for 20 minutes to caramelize.
- Cut the chicken into serving pieces, arrange over the vegetables and serve.