To help stretch the groceries in the house, this meal turns into three meals with a couple of simple techniques. The roast chicken is one meal. The broth that gets made with the bones can become soup. And any leftover meat can become a third meal. I’ll share the broth and the leftover meal in future episodes, but for now, roast chicken is one of the simplest meals that we love to have over and over.
If you are in a hurry, butterfly or spatchcock the chicken by cutting the chicken through the breastbone and laying it flat on a baking sheet. It will reduce the cooking time by about 45 minutes. The herbs in the variation are a classic blend, Herbs de Provence, but not always the same. The ones I like to use are thyme, rosemary, basil, savory, and lavender buds. Others I’ve seen added are fennel, marjoram, and mints. Most grocery stores carry a pre-mixed version, so it’s not necessary to buy each herb individually.
Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables
1 (4 1/2 pound) whole chicken
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus extra for the vegetables)
several grinds fresh black pepper (plus extra for the vegetables)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices (or 3 cups baby carrots)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub the chicken outside and inside with the paprika, salt, and pepper and place on a roasting pan with the onion, parsnips, and carrots. Drizzle the vegetables with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until the legs feel loose in the joint and the vegetables are tender. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Whisk the mustard into the pan to make a pan sauce, adding a little water if needed to loosen the sticky bits on the bottom of the pan. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Lemon Garlic Chicken
Follow the instructions above and stuff the chicken with one whole lemon cut in half and two heads of garlic. If butterflied, place the chicken on top of the lemon and garlic, then roast.
Follow the instructions above and add 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence to the paprika, salt, and pepper.
Serves 4 to 6
Hang in there!