I get asked often what my favorite dish is. Well, to that I would have to say that I have a few favorite dishes, not just one but if I was forced to name three of them, they would be a good traditional Italian pizza, roasted chicken and chicken fried steak.
While I make great pizza at home using a conventional oven, I can never achieve the results obtained by baking the pizza in a wood fired oven which is why I am never 100% satisfied with my end result. I love chicken fried steak with gravy, but I tend to make this dish sparingly considering it’s not the healthiest meal you can eat. A good roasted chicken, on the other hand, is something I rank as one of my number one favorites if properly prepared.
Supermarkets all over the United States sell roasted chickens pre-cooked and ready for pickup, but these usually are lacking in seasoning, are sometimes overcooked and dry and instead of a nice crispy skin, all you are left with is a soggy mess after these chickens have been bagged up and sitting under a heating lamp for quite some time. By the time you pick one up, you are left with a chicken that has been steamed in it’s own juices. I usually reserve picking one of these up when I need a quick roasted chicken fix.
The only way to have some great roasted chicken is either to go to a good restaurant, or learn how to make it at home. Today I want to show you my technique for a simple roasted chicken with vegetables. If you follow my instructions, you will find this technique to be foolproof and you will produce a beautiful, flavorful and juicy chicken with a crispy skin every time. I have many variations for roasted chicken recipes but for today I will start with a basic chicken seasoned with salt and pepper, a few aromatics and roasted on a bed of vegetables which you can later serve as a side dish. Your end result should look like this:
Like I mentioned earlier, there are many variations of roasted chicken like the following which is an interpretation of a chicken dish from Ancient Rome named “Pullum Frontonianum” or as I like to call it; Chicken alla Fronto. This one particular dish of mine was inspired from an original recipe found in the cookbook of Apicius; a book filled with a collection of Ancient Roman recipes.
For now, I’ll leave this Ancient Roman inspired chicken dish for another time and I’ll get back to our simple roasted chicken with vegetables recipe. I recommend a chicken weighing 4 pounds or just a slight bit over, but if you happen to purchase a larger chicken, just increase your cooking time. Remember to not base yourself on time alone and to test the temperature of the chicken at the thickest part of the thigh with a meat thermometer until it reaches 165F.
One 4 pound chicken
3 Russet potatoes
3 Medium carrots
1 Medium onion
5 Garlic cloves
1 Sprig of rosemary
1 Sprig of thyme
2 Sage leaves
1 Slice of lemon
1 tbsp unsalted butter cut into cubes
1 Quarter of an onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Peel the potatoes and the carrots. Cut the potatoes into 1 1/2 inch cubes and cut the carrots into 1/2 inch slices. Dice the onion into 1/2 inch pieces and roughly chop the 3 garlic cloves. Add all to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the vegetables to give them an even coating of oil and seasoning.
Place the vegetables in an oven proof pan layering them out evenly and set aside.
Stuff the cavity of the chicken with 2 garlic cloves, the sprigs of rosemary, thyme, sage leaves, lemon and onion quarter.
Truss the chicken or tie up the legs. Season the chicken on all sides with a generous amount of salt and pepper or to taste.
Place the chicken breast side up on the bed of vegetables layered out in the oven proof pan prepared earlier and place the cubes of butter over the chicken breast.
Put the chicken in an oven preheated at 475F for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 400F and cook for 45 minutes or until an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165F. If your chicken has not reached this temperature, you can put it back in the oven for 5 minutes at a time until you reach the desired temperature.
Let the chicken rest for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute themselves nicely into the meat.
Carve and serve with a side of the cooked vegetables. Optional; use honey as a dipping sauce.