Herb Roast Chicken and Vegetables
Have on hand
1 whole chicken, 3.5 to 4 pounds, giblets removed, rinsed, dried, seasoned, and allowed to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes
springs of fresh herbs: thyme, oregano, rosemary, as needed
3 medium carrots, peeled, rough chopped into equal sized pieces
3 medium parsnips, peeled, tough center core removed, chopped same size as carrots
1 yellow onion, outer skin removed, cut into same size as carrots
3 yellow potatoes, quartered if small, or into eighths, if large
5 cloves garlic, kept in their paper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
1 lemon, halved
Preheat the oven to 400F
Using your chef’s knife, remove the spine from the chicken. Do this by sitting the chicken up on it’s tail, then, if you are right handed, cut down the left side of the spine first (from neck to tail, or top to bottom). Then, holding the spine, cut down the right side of the spine to remove it. Flatten the chicken on a cutting board by pressing down between the breasts. (You can also have your butcher do this for you.) Season both sides of the chicken liberally, then, taking some fresh herbs, gently pull the skin back from the breasts and legs, and push the herbs under the skin. Tuck the wings behind each breast. Now, taking the twine, cross the legs over the breast tips and (like a figure eight with the twine) tie the legs together. Then, pull the twine up, and around the sides of the chicken, towards the neck end, and finally tie it off at the top of the breast. If this isn’t working for you, the thing to keep in mind is that you want the legs to cross over the tips of the breasts while it cooks. This will keep the breasts from over cooking. So, cross um’, and tie um’. No sweat.
In a large bowl, combine the vegetables, along with a few springs of the fresh herbs (being sure to bruise them with your fingers first), a few good grinds of black pepper, and a large pinch of Kosher salt. Drizzle only enough extra-virgin olive oil over the veggies to just barely coat them. Toss to combine. You don’t need so much oil that it pools in the bottom of the bowl. Taste a carrot to see if they need more salt or pepper. If they do, add more, then toss to combine. Simple, huh? Pour the veggies into a shallow roasting pan, or sheet pan, and shake the pan to evenly distribute.*
Place the chicken over the veggies, breast side up. then squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken. Now, taking your (oven-safe) digital thermometer, push the probe into the thickest part of the breast, and set the thermometer for 155*F. Transfer the roasting pan into the oven (making sure the digital part of the thermometer remains outside the oven). As a guide on time, my four pound chicken took exactly 1 hour, 9 minutes. When the digital thermometer beeps, remove the chicken from the oven, and cover the chicken loosely with foil to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Allowing the chicken to rest is very important. Resting will ensure two things: that the chicken will continue to cook to the perfect temperature of 165*F, and also that the juices will remain in the chicken, and not run all over your cutting board, when serving. Delicious!
*Note: if you have extra veggies that you desire to roast separately from the chicken, prepare them in the same manner as above (fresh fennel works great for this recipe too!), but use a sheet pan, instead of a roasting pan, stirring occasionally for even roasting. That’s good stuff!