Friday, April 5, 2013

Roast Chicken with Vegetables and Spicy Potatoes--A Little Paris Bistro For You

The weekend is the perfect time for the solo cook -- or anyone-- to roast a chicken.  Why not?  If you'd like a friend to come over for dinner the day you make this, all the better.  If not, no problem.  Plenty for you all weekend long, bones and bits for stock, and luscious sandwiches or salads or soup for lunch for a couple of days.  Put on the music, pour a little wine, set yourself a pretty place just for the two (or one) of you or put on a good movie while the whole meal cooks at once without you stirring a thing.

Skip the rotisserie chicken at the store, despite the price--at least for this time.  Save it for when you're really desperate.  They're often old, tiny, stringy, overdone, mushy, or include some ingredients you don't really want to eat.  If you have a couple of hours, you have your own chicken. I mean, sticking a whole chicken in the oven can't be too hard, right?  (I'll talk you through the process to a golden, tender, beautiful chicken.)  While I've blogged my own roast chicken recipes before (scroll down to bottom), this one happens to be Perfect Roast Chicken by Ina Garten. 

I made this for my friend Mary Pat the other night prepping for my Ina Fridays venture on More Time at the Table--only to remember our first Friday was appetizers!  (A bunch of us are blogging Ina the first Friday of every month; stop in.)   I also oven-roasted some crispy potatoes and made a little  green salad on the side.   We happily drank an '09 Ken Wright Pinot Noir, which I liked better than Ina's suggested Chardonnay.  Do as you please, but do have some wine.

 Here's how:

 Buy the best chicken you can afford.  Organic chicken really is better.  Free-range really is tastier.  No matter what you buy, it'll be better than chicken in a bag or box.  You don't have to have a for real roasting pan if you don't have one; I used a deep Pyrex dish 3-4 quarts--as you can see.  Something heavy is better, however, than a lightweight cake pan, for instance.  

ina's perfect roast chicken   serves 4 generously
My changes/additions are in green and (  ).


1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken (I used a 4 pound bird.)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs (I used only one bunch and divided it.)
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted (I used olive oil.)
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. (At 6,500 ft. altitude right now, so I roasted in a 450 degree oven.)

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.  (I tented the chicken with aluminum foil to decrease roasting time and oven mess.)

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours (at 6500 ft, this chicken was all done but the browning in just a few minutes over an hour)*, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.  (There were enough pan juices to spoon some over each piece of chicken.  I added nothing to the pan.)
This is what the chicken looked like when it was almost done, but not browned.  Tent off for 10-15 minute for browning.  I did baste the bird just at this point ONLY ONCE, using a brush, and dipping up juices from the bottom of the pan.

 *USDA Temperature for Poultry is 165 degrees FahrenheitRead here for complete information on using a meat thermometer, which is always recommended.

my sides:

Alyce's Hot Green Salad:  In a large, deep skillet, sauté over medium heat in a tablespoon of olive oil with a pinch of crushed red pepper: 1/2 pound chopped asparagus with 1/2 cup  each sliced button mushrooms and cherry or grape tomatoes.  Add a teaspoon of grated lemon to the asparagus. When the vegetables are nearly tender (3-5 minutes), pour over 6 cups of mixed greens seasoned with salt, pepper, and the juice of 1/2 lemon.  Toss and serve while vegetables are hot or at room temperature.  (4 servings)

Alyce's Oven Roasted Red Potatoes:   Cut 4-6 medium red potatoes into 1 1/2 - 2-inch pieces.   Place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with about two tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and a teaspoon or so of Herbes de Provence. (You could use just rosemary or thyme, but I like the mix.) Toss well.  Roast in the same 425 (or 450  in my case) oven you're cooking the chicken in for about a half-hour or until browned, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  Serve hot with the chicken and vegetables.   (4 small servings)


If you liked this, you might like:

My Roasted Orange Chicken with Butternut Squash

Like videos?  Here's Ina making the roast chicken.

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

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