Whole Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Root Vegetables
I’m not a vegetarian, but turkey is my least favorite part about the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
Roasted vegetables and baked chestnutty stuffing make for some tempting side dishes, especially when they’re topped off with tart homemade cranberry sauce. That alone would be enough to make me very happy. (That and pie.)
Also: I hope no one jumps down my throat to disagree with me here, but… I usually find turkey to be too dry. (Maybe I’m just picky though; I often have the same complaint about the white meat of chicken– give me a drumstick over a slice of chicken breast and I’ll be a happy camper.)
So with all this turkey apathy in mind– that and the fact that our Thanksgiving guest list so far includes just me and my girlfriend– we will be roasting a chicken instead of a turkey this year!
We started this tradition last Thanksgiving, and have made this roasted chicken with purple potatoes, parsnips, and leeks several times since then.* It’s the perfect turkey substitute (unless you’re more of the Tofurkey persuasion…).
A whole roasted chicken– with savory, browned, irresistible roasted root vegetables– is not only surprisingly easy to make, it also makes for a memorable meal that is festive, affordable, and delicious.
Just one word of warning, though… this recipe (preferably) “requires” a meat thermometer. And I say “requires” because that’s the one thing we didn’t have. After TWO out of TWO kitchen thermometers broke on us, we are currently in between thermometers (anyone want to recommend a good brand they like?).
Of course we only realized this halfway through roasting the chicken (how could I have forgotten that the second one had broken as well?!?). Luckily this didn’t spell disaster for the dinner; we just roasted it for a little extra time, and then my girlfriend cut into the chicken to make sure the juices ran clear.
However, this did spell disaster for something else… maybe you’ve noticed by now how few photos I have of the entire chicken from above… That, my friends, is because this is what happens when you don’t own a meat thermometer:
After having what can only be described as a melodramatic reaction to my girlfriend’s (overzealous) attempt to make sure the chicken was fully cooked and safe to eat, I reluctantly continued to take photos of the finished product, though with significantly less enthusiasm about sharing this blog post with you… Oh well. It still tasted wonderful.
* Last Thanksgiving we spent half the meal– in between bites– exclaiming things like “this is awesome!”; “and it was so easy!”; “why don’t we make this every weekend!?”; “or we could at least roast a chicken once a month?!” We never managed to take it up quite that frequently last year, but there’s always the year to come…
p.s. This time, we used the leftover chicken to make Layered Chicken Enchiladas!
Print this recipe. (PDF)
Whole Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken
with Root Vegetables
~ a 4-5-lb. whole organic chicken
~ 2-3 parsnips (or other root vegetable)
~ 2-3 leeks (or other root vegetable)
~ 10-15 small potatoes (we used purple potatoes and red new potatoes)
~ 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled
~ olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste
~ 1 lemon, quartered lengthwise
~ large bunch fresh rosemary (about 1 oz.)
~ 2-3 Tbsp. butter, melted
How to make it:
1. Clean and prepare the chicken for roasting; rinse it, dry it, and remove excess fat if necessary. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Roughly chop the root vegetables and toss them into a large cast iron pan or a roasting pan. Add 3-4 whole, peeled cloves of garlic. Season with a few glugs of olive oil, tossing to coat the vegetables evenly, then sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
3. Place the whole chicken on the bed of root vegetables, and stuff the empty cavity of the chicken with the lemon quarters, a clove of garlic, and several sprigs of rosemary. Gently rub the outside of the chicken with a halved clove of garlic (if desired) and with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Optionally brush on– or pour over– melted butter for a crispier, browned skin.
4. Add any extra rosemary to the root vegetables. Cover the entire thing with tin foil, and roast for 1 hour. After an hour, remove the tin foil, give the root vegetables a quick stir, and continue roasting (without tin foil) for another 30 min. to an hour, or until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of over 165 degrees F (75 Celsius), and the juices run clear. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before carving. Serve warm!
Print this recipe! (PDF)