Its time to re-emerge from hibernation. After a very busy (and hot!) summer and early fall, I’m finally getting back into the swing of cooking, inspired by the sensory overload of the season with its root vegetables, changing trees, and brisque, cool temperatures. I also have my LAST EXAM OF MEDICAL SCHOOL in a few minutes, so what better time to pause, disconnect, and channel my love of food and lady friends?! I bring you a recipe that IS awesome, and that really does NOT take a whole lot of practice. This recipe is also a nod to my amazing mom who taught me years ago that roast chicken is a simple, yet delicious and festive meal for something spectacular when you don’t have a ton of time or patience to try something more complex. This is also probably the first meat dish I learned to make in my post-vegetarian period.
– 1 bird
– Potatoes + root veggies – this time I did 2 potatoes and a parsnip, but turnips, carrots, sweet potato, cassava, yucca, and whatever else grows in your part of the globe would be great too
– Garlic – lots! Like 3 whole cloves
– 3 tbsp butter – softened but not completely melted
– Thyme – also lots
– Salt + Pepper
Set the oven to 375. Peel and cut up the veggies in large chunks and place them in a bowl. Peel ~10 cloves of garlic and throw them in the bowl as well. Now its time to prepare the bird.
I usually have my seasonings prepared at this point in a way that keeps me from having to touch anything clean while handling the bird: I have a bowl with the butter, one with lots of salt and pepper, and a third with a pile of thyme leaves off the sprigs. Take a couple cloves of garlic and slice them, then place the slices under the bird’s skin spaced out as well as possible. Take two whole garlic cloves and slice them in half horizontally like so:
Place both halves of each clove along with plenty of sprigs of thyme in the cavity. Now, with your hands, mix plenty of thyme leaves, salt and pepper with the soft (but not liquidy) butter and spread it all over the bird in a nice, thick layer. With what is left, coat the root veggies, also just shlopping it on with your hands.
Place the bird in the center of a roasting pan and arrange the veggies around it. Roast in the center of the oven until the skin on the breasts starts to look gold and crispy (~50 minutes), then flip the bird upside down. When you take it out to do this (carefully!), also have your assistant stir the veggies around the pan so they get coated with the chicken drippings.
As for how long to roast… I’m not a big fan of time charts for chicken because they are pretty much always wrong. I find that for a 3-3.5 lb chicken somewhere around 1 hr 15 min at 375 usually does the job, but you have to either check the internal temp of the thickest part of the leg (165 degrees when its done) or if you don’t have a cooking thermometer (which I don’t), loosen the leg and check that the juices run clear to know its done.
My apologies for not having better (or at least more directly relevant) photos. I didn’t plan at the time to put this on the blog, thinking it was too simple! But Chris, Aya and Tara set me straight. Luckily Chris came up from his voracious consumption of the meal for a quick photo!