Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

acookscanvas_roastedchicken3_copyright2012-2013I don’t like Sundays. Who does? It’s the last day before a new week starts, before the hustle and bustle of a monday morning, a flood of emails, pointless meetings and never-ending projects. When I start to get the case of the “Sundays”, I think back to when it was the day when, like most families, we would visit my Grandparents to share a big family dinner. The whole family would be there, spread throughout every room in the house. The men would sit in the living room watching football, we kids running around playing, and my mother, grandmother, and aunts would be in the kitchen preparing dinner. When everything was finally ready, everyone would gather around the table to eat, which was a great way to end the week.
acookscanvas_roastedchicken1_copyright2012-2013Being so far away from home, we usually spend Sundays watching movies, relaxing on the sofa with a few snacks and a bottle of wine, and something light for dinner.  As the cold winter weather arrives we start to crave something more substantial, and the comfort of a Sunday dinner.  What better way to battle the Sunday blues and brighten a dreary afternoon than by filling the house with the aroma of a lovely roasting chicken?
acookscanvas_roastedchicken2_copyright2012-2013I use to dread roasting chicken because of judging whether it would come out fully cooked, or overcooked and dry.  But over the last few years I’ve learned to face these cooking anxieties head-on, and with a little effort and experimentation, eventually I succeeded and turned something dreadful into a proud accomplishment. I can roast a chicken, and I know how to make sure it comes out tender, juicy, and delicious.  Here is my roast chicken recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Roasted Chicken
Serves 2-3 (depending on how hungry you are)

3-4 lb free range chicken, giblets removed (some come with the giblets already removed, doesn’t hurt to double check)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2-3 tablespoons of  butter (soften)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
Lemon slices (optional for inside the cavity)
Salt (sea or kosher) and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C

Add the butter to a small bowl mix by itself to soften even further. Add the garlic, parsley, onion powder, and tarragon to the butter, and mix. Season with salt and pepper.

Rinse chicken with cool water, inside and out and pat dry. It is very important to make sure the chicken is fully dried or else the skin will not get crispy. Generally the legs will be trussed but in case your bird isn’t, gently bring the legs together and tie with kitchen string. You will see in the photos that we were out of kitchen string but the roasted chicken still turned out delicious.

Place the chicken in an oven safe dish/roasting pan and loosen the skin on the breast. This can be done by gently lifting the skin and sliding one to two fingers underneath, going back and forth carefully to not rip the skin. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Take the herb butter mixture and put roughly a tablespoon under the skin, making sure to coat the whole breast. Spread the rest of the mixture over the whole chicken. This helps the chicken to brown nicely and crisp. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the oven for 1 1/2 hrs, til a thermometer reads 160°F/71°C
(Note: If you have a larger bird, you may need to increase the ingredients and roasting time.)

Roasted Vegetables
1 large package of mushrooms, halved
2 large yellow onions, quartered
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
3 large carrots, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

Place all chopped vegetables in a bowl. Give them a healthy dose of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. About 30 minutes into roasting the chicken, place the vegetables around the chicken and roast for 45-50 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

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