I invited the boyfriend over for dinner on a weeknight. I wanted to cook something healthy and delicious, but I was also tired after a day of work, so it had to be easy. Going through my mental rolodex of things my family used to cook on weekdays, the simple dish of roasted chicken can to mind. With the crispy skin, tender meat, and indulgent juices, it was one of my favorite meals to cook when I was younger. And how could it not be; it required such little effort and tasted so good!
Armed with an organic chicken, carrots from the farmer’s market, and baby potatoes, I was on my way to a yummy, colorful dinner these meat-and-potato lovers found perfect on a chilly weeknight.
Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
A 4-5 pound whole organic chicken
2 large carrots, peeled
1 bag baby potatoes (about 1 lb.), rinsed well
Sea salt and ground black pepper
In all my experience cooking, I have found that taking two steps before cooking always make meat taste better: let it come to room temperature, and dry it as much as possible. So let your chicken sit on the counter for at least an hour before cooking.
While the meat is resting, cut up your vegetables. Chop the carrots into rounds about 1/2 inch thick. Chop the larger baby potatoes in half and leave the small ones whole. Add the vegetables to a 9×13 baking dish.
After the chicken sits for at least an hour, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grab a BUNCH of paper towels and dry your chicken all over. Inside and out. Everywhere. Multiple times. (Note: Additional moisture will steam the chicken instead of roasting it. That extra liquid will yield you soggy skin instead of crispy skin. So get all that moisture up for the most tender meat and crispy skin.) (I should also note that you should remove the gizzards from the inside during this process…)
When your chicken is thoroughly dry, sprinkle sea salt and ground pepper over both sides and on the inside. Don’t be shy with the sea salt. You want to put enough on that it is visible when cooked, about 1 tablespoon. After you have salted and peppered your bird, drizzle olive oil all over the skin and inside the cavity and massage the oil into the skin.
If you like, tie the legs together with cooking twine before placing your chicken on top of the vegetables. Place the dish in the oven and roast at 450 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
When the chicken is done cooking, let it rest for about 15 minutes before you cut into it. This is very important! Always let your meat rest after cooking and before cutting to let the juices settle back into the meat.
Then, enjoy your easy, spectacular one-dish meal!
**When you’ve eaten all the chicken off of the carcass, DO NOT throw it away! Stick it in a freezer ziploc bag for homemade chicken stock! (recipe to come)