About Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

So I have to give my apologies to the newly vegetarianized Heather Anne for this recipe, but it's been sitting in Google Docs forever waiting for me to get to it, and I've been procrastinating like hell about it, because COME ON, it's chicken, and even though this is a really delicious chicken, chicken doesn't get its reputation for being boring for nothing. I mean, what is there to say about chicken? They're birds and they cluck and if they're lucky they get to roam around eating their own vegetarian meals and having a happy, outdoorsy life until their heads are chopped off and their necks are stuffed back down into their body cavities and see? B-O-R-I-N-G.

But this dish is definitely not boring, and it's impressive-looking to boot, and the best part is how simple it is to make. Basically all you need is:
  • A 3- to 4-pound whole chicken
  • An assortment of root vegetables
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and any other herbs and spices of your choosing
So preheat your oven to 425F. While that's heating up, prepare your veggies. This particular day I used fennel, turnips, parsnips, carrots and a potato.

Scrub your veggies thoroughly and then chop them up into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Try to make the pieces as close to the same size as possible so they cook evenly. Then toss your chunks (heh) with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and what the hell, throw some garlic cloves and chopped parsley in there for fun. And spread them all out into the bottom of the pan. (You can use a big roasting pan if you have one but I find a large skillet works well, and is easier to clean which is awesome.)

Now you get to molest your chicken! Squee! (I don't know.) Stick your hand up the gaping whole between its legs (heh) and pull out the little plastic baggie. In it you'll find your chicken's neck, liver, gizzard, and yes, heart. You'll probably want to throw this away, but me, I like toss the neck in the freezer for stock and chop up the organs into teeny tiny pieces and mix them all up in the veggies. Or sometimes Seth will add the livers to his world famous mushrooms on toast. But like I said, you'll probably want to throw it all away.

Rinse your chicken carcass inside and out and then pat it dry with a wad of paper towels. (This is so the skin browns and crisps all up in the oven, which is important because YUM.) Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper both inside and out, and then place it breast(does a hyphen go here?)side down, either directly on top of your vegetables or on a rack placed over your vegetables.

And stick it in the oven!

After about 20 minutes it will look like this,

all golden brown and delicious, but it's not ready DO NOT EAT IT YET. Instead, flip it over onto its back, and I cannot stress this enough, for the love of all that is holy and good try not to burn yourself. Or touch the pan. Which is why I have three sets of oven mitts strategically placed throughout my tiny kitchen. And I use those oven mitts to give the hot pan a little shake to stir up the veggies.

Stick it back in the oven for another 8 minutes, then give a little peek inside to see whether the skin has started to brown. If so, great! If not, let it roast for another 2 or 3 or 5 or however many minutes it takes.

When you're ready, baste the bird with a little olive oil, and if you want to get real fancypants about it you can add some herbs and spices to the olive oil.

Lower the temperature of your oven to 325F, and continue roasting your chicken until the breast meat reaches 160F and the thigh meat hits 165F. And when you tip the bird forward the juices that run out of the body cavity should definitely NOT look like blood.

The whole process should take about an hour, maybe more, and when you're done it should look something like this:

But if you were to cut into it right away all the yummy chicken juices would run right out of your chicken and where you really want them is actually IN the chicken so DON'T DO THAT. Instead, put your bird on a cutting board, loosely tent it with some foil to keep warm, and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes.

And while that's camping out, take a fork and stab at the veggies. If there is any resistance crank the oven up to 400F and stick the pan back in for a few minutes until everything has finished cooking.

Back to the bird, and A CONFESSION: I have no idea how to carve a chicken. Gordon Ramsey says it's the easiest thing in the world, but I have my boyfriend do it anyway. Besides, it gives him something to do and usually isn't it always the head of the family who does the carving? Not that my boyfriend is the head of the family or anything, and especially not that the DUDE always has to be the head of the family because NUH UH NO WAY, but like I said, it gives him something to do.

ANYWHO, since I am of no help here, enjoy this lovely video, creatively entitled "How to Carve a Chicken." I can't vouch for the sound because my computer is on mute and I'm too lazy to unmute it, but the chef is relatively attractive so there's that.

And then there's this, the perfect plate of roasted chicken with root vegetables. (And salad.)


  1. I always try not to feel awkward and giggly when I stick my hand into a chicken, but I always fail.

    This makes me hungry. The recipe, not the chicken-hole thing.

  2. F, I'm hungry. Where's my burrito?

  3. That looks fucking delicious.

  4. heh, peefer said "chicken hole."

    ashley - man, now i want a burrito.

    jennie - and the best part is that there's about a million different seasoning combinations. i'll have to post some when i get back.

  5. I loves me some oven bird (turkey, chicken, whatever), but it's really messy, what with all the spitting of the juices hither and yon and the ensuing smoke. How do you keep yours from doing that? Do you yell at it prior to placing it in the oven? Threaten it somehow?

    Still totally worth it, though. And the stock. Sweet Lord, the stock!

    So, yeah. This is great stuff.

  6. Whoa, it's like roast chicken porn, with the herbs and the veggies and the juice! That looks really frickin good, and this is coming from someone who was right there with you when you wrote of how boring a meal of "roast chicken" sounds.

  7. sir - yeah, not sure how i don't have those problems, except for maybe my oven is really clean and i let the thing rest for a really long time. oh yeah, and the yelling and threats.

    stock is definitely on the to do list for the blog. CAN'T WAIT.

    tamara! - i like to make this for company, because i love their faces when i say i'm making chicken for dinner. and then this thing shows up and no one doubts me ever ever again.

  8. Fennel? I have never in my life cooked with fennel. I'm such a naif. The whole thing looks amazing!

  9. fennel is SO GOOD. every time a fennel newbie comes over for dinner i make sure to make it. and everyone loves it.

    i'll have to put up a roasted fennel recipe one of these days.

  10. This is in my oven right now.

  11. awesome! let me know how it turns out!