Roasted... chicken? I thought Sean was a hardcore vegetarian?
Well, I'm about 95% vegetarian. A couple times a year, we buy a whole chicken, or some bacon or sausage or lamb, from the farmers market. So, once every month or two, we'll cook a meat based meal. And this meal is a great way to make that meat go a long ways, and to share its flavor with the veggies.
Roast chicken might seem like an intimidating meal- isn't it much easier to grab a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store? What if I undercook it/ overcook it?
After a few tries now, I find that roasting a chicken on a bed of veggies is one of the easiest to prepare meals. It takes really about 15-20 minutes of prep time, and you get 6 or so one person meals out of it (plus the stock, if you use the bones to make a soup, but we'll leave that for another time).
There are lots of recipes that give instructions by the pound for cook time, and I've found that its pretty forgiving in terms of ten minutes plus or minus. If you are baking in the range of 350 to 375, it seems to be about 20 min per pound. Some recipes add a blast of heat at the beginning or end, I suppose for added crispiness. I took from this recipe.
-one chicken, preferably free range, about 4 pounds
-lots of rosemary, oregano- like several six inch branches of oregano. If using dried, at least a couple tablespoons of each.
-lots of salt and pepper
-five to ten large carrots
-seven to ten medium size (tennis ball or so) thin skin potatoes
-one or two small to medium onions (yellow)
Cut up the potatoes and carrots and onions to bite size pieces. Place these in a 9x13 metal pan. We use a non-stick Calphalon pan. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and several teaspoons of salt and a lot of fresh ground pepper and a sprinkle of rosemary and mix well with your fingers or a spatula.
Preheat the oven to 425 to 450. Defrost the bird thoroughly in the fridge (it takes 2 days). If its damp, you can pat it down with a paper towel. Stretch the bird out just a bit by pulling gently on the legs and wings. Place the bird on top of the potatoes and carrots. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil all over the bird (some people prefer butter, that is fine too) and massage the bird well with your fingers. If using garlic, take a sharp knife and make 5 to 8 incisions anywhere in the bird (breast, thighs are good). Peel and slightly smash the garlic. Tuck the garlic in the incisions.
Now to season. Don't be shy with salt, or oregano or rosemary. Especially rosemary. Scatter all over the bird, massage this into the bird, and repeat.
The bird should be breast side up. Place in the center and roast for 20 minutes at 450.
Now, turn the heat down to 350. Roast for another hour or hour and 15 min. The potatoes and carrots should be starting to get soft. If they aren't, leave it in for a little longer.
IMPORTANT. When you take it out, let the bird rest for 15-20 min before carving. The meat relaxes, and does something magic with the proteins and juices which I don't understand. But everyone says wait, so just do it!