Roasty Chicken and Root Vegetables

Photo from Epicurious.com

Photo from Epicurious.com

Ok, I know this “recipe” is super simple and may seem lame to those of you who cook up chickens all the time, BUT I think it’s worth sharing because:

  1. It’s the paleo recipe I cook when I don’t feel like spending a bunch of time in the kitchen or dirtying more than one pot.
  2. It can feed a crowd.
  3. It’s a great way to cook up any vegetables you are in the mood for or have on hand. These are also insanely good reheated in a cast iron skillet and served up alongside eggs for breakfast.
  4. The leftovers are easy to re-purpose into different meals, like chicken salad or as a topping for a full green salad.
  5. It is that magic combination of incredibly simple and delicious.
  6. It makes your house smell like heaven.
  7. Aren’t those enough reasons?!

For those of you who have never roasted a chicken and are nervous about it, give it a try. It’s incredibly easy and when you’ve done it once, this can be a no-brainer go-to meal for you.

Mon Poulet Roti (My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken), original recipe by Thomas Keller from Epicurious.com. I have edited just to include veggies and cook a bigger chicken.

Ingredients

One 4- to 5-pound farm-raised chicken

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetables chopped into large chunks (I use 2-3 carrots, 1 large sweet potato or butternut squash, 1 large white onion, halved Brussels sprouts, beets, parsnips… really anything you’d like would work!)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird. (To truss: Tuck the wings under the front of the bird and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.)

Now, generously salt the chicken—rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it’s cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

Place your chopped veggies in the bottom of a roasting pan or a large dutch oven, like a Le Creuset (I don’t own a roasting pan so this is what I use). Place the chicken in the pot, directly on top of the veggies. Place the chicken in the oven and leave it alone. Roast it until it’s golden brown and the juices from the thigh run clear, usually 60 to 75 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board. Give the veggies a stir — they should be well-coated in chicken drippings — and pop them back in the oven for 10 minutes to get them really roasty brown.

To carve: Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs, then remove each lobe of the breast and slice against the grain.

Thomas Keller says, “I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I’m cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip—until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook’s rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be superelegant. You’ll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it’s so good.” I’d have to agree!

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