It’s still February, but it was spring in St. Louis yesterday. Such a gorgeous day, and today is more of the same. Crocus and daffodils sprouted overnight. Crazy. Yesterday was Sunday and the Oscars, and I decided to make a roast chicken with root vegetables. A perfectly roasted chicken is the quintessential Sunday dinner. And these root vegetables are amazing, sweet and colorful, they cook with the chicken and are bathed in the flavorful pan drippings.
I used three types of sweet potatoes; purple, white and orange, such gorgeous colors and flavor. I also added a yukon gold potato, carrots and red onion. And my favorite, fennel. When fennel is roasted it takes on a whole different flavor than the licorice taste it has raw (which I like, too!). The veggies get tossed in a roasting pan with a little olive oil and lots of salt and pepper. The chicken is stuffed with lemon, garlic and thyme, basted with melted butter, and then goes on top of the vegetables. As it roasts, the butter and chicken juices drip down to the vegetables and, well, the resulting flavor is scrumptious.
You can use these root vegetables, or swap out any to your liking, such as parsnips, yellow onion, regular potatoes instead of sweet, etc. The colors of these vegetables are stunning, and taste as good as they look. Meathead said the vegetables looked like stained glass. Roasted chicken with root vegetables, Sunday dinner bliss.
Chicken roasted on a bed of root vegetables, comfort food for Sunday supper.
- 1 5-pound chicken
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
- 1 large bunch of fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 carrots, peeled, cut into chunks
- 3 sweet potatoes, purple, white and orange, peeled, cut into chunks (or any mix of sweet potatoes you like or can find)
- 1 Yukon gold potato, peeled, cut into chunks
- 1 large red onion, peeled, cut into wedges
- 2 fennel bulbs, tops and tough outer layer removed, cut into wedges
- Olive oil
- Optional: chicken stock, preferably homemade, about 1 to 2 cups
Preheat oven to 425º. Remove bag of giblets and rinse chicken, inside and out, removing any excess fat. Drain well and pat dry. Season the cavity generously with salt and pepper, and tuck wings underneath the body. Stuff the chicken with the lemon halves, garlic and a good bunch of fresh thyme sprigs. Next, brush the melted butter all over the chicken, generously salt and pepper, and then tie the legs together with kitchen string.
Place all of the vegetables evenly in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and with cleans hands, toss to coat vegetables. Toss in a few more thyme sprigs.
Place chicken over top of vegetables, and roast for 1½ hours, or until juices run clear at the thigh. I added some stock to the pan after about 45 minutes, and then again in another half hour, about a cup or so. I wanted pan juices and it seemed like I wouldn't have enough.
Remove chicken to cutting board, tent with foil and let rest. Remove vegetables to a bowl, leaving drippings behind. Pour drippings into a fat separator, or bowl, and remove fat. Put pan juices in a small bowl or gravy boat and keep warm.
Carve up chicken onto a platter, serve with root vegetables and pan juices. Enjoy.
*Inspired by Ina Garten’s chicken recipes.