Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

The perfectly roasted chicken is a thing of beauty. A perfectly roasted chicken cooked in a pan with a side dish is even better.  Root vegetables are available year round, but October starts their prime season.We are talking acorn squash, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and parsnips. If you have ever been too intimidated to try preparing these vegetables in your own kitchen: that stops today. This recipe is the perfect one-pan dish that will make you look - and feel - like a true chef. Get ready to impress your dinner guests.

You’ll need:

  •  small roasting chicken (5-6 pounds)
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 butternut squash
  • 3 small sweet potatoes
  • 2 lemons
  • ½ stick of room temp. butter
  • tablespoon of dried herbs
  • salt + pepper
  • parsley for garnish

Some notes about the ingredients: the vegetables are totally customizable. Add parsnips or carrots. Take out the sweet potato. Do what you want! And as for the herbs, use what sounds good to you. We used cantanzaro herbs to really play up the citrus. If you don’t have that, use a mix of thyme, rosemary, and oregano – or herbes de Provence.

For general food safety, if you don’t have a thermometer in your kitchen, you should grab one. They are super cheap on Amazon and if you are in Baltimore you can have it delivered in an hour. Okay, back to cooking.

Set your oven to 375.

Peel all of your vegetables and cut them into one-inch cubes. Coat the pan lightly with oil (you can make your own 'non-stick spray' by filling a clean spray bottle with cooking oil), and throw all of the vegetables in. Give them a quick spray, too. Season with salt and pepper.

Put your butter, herbs, and the zest of two lemons into a bowl and use your hands to mix. This is why your butter needs to be room temperature – easier to squish.

After you’ve rinsed and dried your small roasting chicken, make sure to get all of the stuff on the inside, out. There will be a heart, a liver, maybe more. If it’s organic, there will probably be a neck in there, too. Just reach your hand in, grab it, and pull. 

Rub that butter mixture all over your chicken. Make sure to get the thighs and the crease in between the thighs and the breast. Also, gently lift the skin up over the breast and you can push butter up under the skin. Get as much in there as you can without tearing the skin. This traps the butter in and makes the breast super juicy and makes the most perfect crispy skin.

Cut the lemons that you zested in half and stuff them into the cavity of the chicken.

A lot of people will say you need to truss the chicken, but we’re not doing that here for two reasons: 1. it keeps you from stuffing more lemons into the tiny chicken; and, most importantly, 2. a non-trussed chicken has more surface area available to create that crispy skin. This way, the whole thigh can get crispy instead of just the outside portion.

Lay the chicken on a wire rack over the vegetables. All the juices from the chicken and the lemons will drain out onto the veggies making them taste like they were grown in Heaven.

The chicken should go into the oven for an hour and fifteen minutes. Use your thermometer to go deep inside the chicken’s thigh. The temperature needs to be 165 for the chicken to be safe to eat. Anything lower, the FDA frowns upon. If, at the hour and fifteen mark, your chicken LOOKS done but isn’t up to temp, put some aluminum foil over the chicken so it doesn’t burn, and leave it in the oven until it’s ready.

Prepare for compliments.