Thursday, September 23, 2010

Whole Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables

Yesterday was officially the first day of Autumn and so I decided to make something comforting for dinner. While cruising around Whole Foods I noted that the whole organic chickens were on sale and looking gorgeous...perfect. I  grabbed some local walla walla sweet onions (the official state vegetable of Washington), organic carrots, and local purple fingerling potatoes to roast along side the chicken.  

Now what to serve with the chicken and vegetables? Earlier in the day I had read about an herb salad with feta, roasted red peppers, and toasted nuts in Bon Appetit (September issue, page 55)  and was feeling inspired.  I found some beautiful jarred roasted piquillo peppers, walnuts, and marinated feta from Yarra Valley Dairy (this turned out to be the absolute best marinated feta I have ever tasted..you must look for it in your local Whole Foods Market). The flavors in this salad are reminiscent of Greece with an air of refinement...so delicious. Here is the recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit :



Herb Salad with Feta, Roasted Red Peppers, and Toasted Nuts
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 5-ounce container of herb salad mix
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted red peppers from jar
1/2 cup walnut halves or pecan halves, toasted
1 10.5 ounce jar feta cheese in oil with herbs and spices
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Method:
1.Combine herb salad mix, chopped peppers, and toasted walnuts in a large bowl
2. Drain feta cheese, reserving oil and spice mixture from jar
3. Sprinkle feta over salad
4. Whisk 3 tablespoons of reserved oil and spice mixture with red wine vinegar in small bowl
5. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat thoroughly
6. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper

Now back to the chicken.  I used tidbits from Julia Child's Roast Chicken recipe paired with memories of my mother's Lemon Pepper Roast Chicken from my childhood and came up with the recipe below:



 Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 4-5 pound whole organic chicken
1 lemon, sliced thinly
1/2 cup celery leaves, chopped
2 walla walla onions, quartered
5 large carrots, chopped roughly
6 purple fingerling potatoes, chopped roughly
8 whole cloves of garlic
4 bay leaves
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 teaspoons of crushed garlic (from the jar is fine)
Garlic Salt
Lemon Pepper
Black Pepper
Sea Salt
Butter
Olive Oil

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
2. Wash your chicken in warm water and pat dry
3. Salt and pepper the inside of chicken and then stuff with lemon slices, celery leaves, bay leaves, one of the quartered onions, and two sprigs of rosemary. Take the crushed garlic and shove (with your fingers) under the skin of the breasts of the chicken.
4. Place chicken in roasting pan and rub with butter. Season outside of chicken with garlic salt, sea salt, lemon pepper, and black pepper (don't be shy here, you want a nice crust of seasoning)
5. Drizzle olive oil in bottom of roasting pan under chicken
6. Roast chicken 15 minutes at 450 degrees 
7. Toss other onion, potatoes, carrots, garlic cloves, and last rosemary sprig in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside. 
8. Remove roasting pan from oven after first 15 min and add bowl of vegetables to pan around the base  of chicken ( be careful as the oil will be super hot and vegetables will sizzle when they hit the pan)
9. Put pan back in oven for 75 min at 350 degrees 
10. Baste chicken and vegetables every 15 min or so with the juices from the bottom of the pan 
11. Enjoy!

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