Monday, October 25, 2010

Lemon And Herb Roasted Chicken With Root Vegetables

It rained all of last week and, for San Diego, that is pretty much unheard of. However, we welcomed the rain because our city totally needs it. One thing about rainy, cold weather is that it makes me want to use the oven! I went to Trader Joe's and saw they had a great selection of organic, free range and some cage free, hormone free roasting chickens. I bought a smallish, 4 pounder, but that was enough for me and Stella (and a little for Lilu, our dog, too!). 

This was my first roasted chicken ever and I have to say it came out pretty fabulous. I know it seems there's lots of salt, but I read in many recipes you have to really season the chicken inside and out well in order to give it extraordinary flavor. I was also very surprised how juicy and succulent the chicken was after roasting. I am definitely making this recipe again! 

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 to 6)
  • 1 (4 to 5-pound) free range chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 bunch each fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley (reserve a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary for the vegetables)
  • 2 lemons, cut in quarters (reserve 1 teaspoon of lemon juice for the herbed butter)
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoons of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 11/2 pounds mixture of 1" cut carrots, parsnips, red new potatoes, and red onions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside and inside dry.

Generously season the cavity with salt and pepper, drizzle a little olive oil in there and then stuff the lemon, garlic, and herbs inside. Tie the legs of the chicken together with kitchen twine to help hold its shape (I used tin foil).

Make the herbed butter: mix the 2 tablespoons softened butter with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon each chopped fresh thyme and rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and mash it with a fork or spoon until it's all well combined. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the chicken breast and slip the remaining seasoned butter under, massaging the breast meat as you go.

In roasting pan or large baking pan, toss the carrots, parsnips, potatoes and onions with 3 peeled garlic cloves, a few good globs of olive oil, salt and pepper and reserved sprigs of thyme and fresh rosemary. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a roasting pan (if you're using a baking pan like I did, place the chicken on top of the vegetables). Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast the chicken and vegetables for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Don't forget to baste the chicken with the drippings and rotate the pan every 20 minutes or so to insure a golden crispy skin. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer says 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (the legs of the chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets too.) Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before carving. Serve with the roasted vegetables on the side.