Roast Chicken- PART 1 OF 3

Mmmm, comfort food- who can resist it in the dead of winter, when the wind, snow, and clouds chill you all the way to your bones and it feels like spring will never arrive?  I for one, cannot.  And while I am all for healthy, low-calorie meals, every now and then it's great to make a classic dish that you know will fill you up and won't let you down!  I digress...

This roast chicken is a variation on my mother's recipe, which is a variation of my grandmother's recipe.  In addition to it being delicious, it is also one of the very first things I learned to cook when I was a single ballerina, fresh out of high school.  It feeds a lot of people if you have a dinner party or a large family.  And you can make your own chicken stock (and then chicken noodle soup) with the leftovers (hence the 3-part post).  Basically, this chicken is the gift that keeps on giving (unless you are a vegetarian).
Preheat that oven to 425 degrees.

Drizzle a little olive oil into the bottom of your roasting pan.  If you want to use the rack at the bottom of the pan, just go ahead and wait until you have all of your veggies down there, and drizzle with olive oil.

Matt is untying the organic chicken and getting ready to brine that baby!

Then get out your coarse sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and brine away...

...Inside and out!

Watch out for your canine compatriot, who may be a little too helpful!

I always use one whole yellow onion.

Lots of carrots.  In the summer we will get whole carrots at the farmers market and use the tops to make the stock, but organic baby carrots are what we had at home.

Garlic is my all-time favorite flavor, so I add a lot.  It's worth it.  Just trust me!

Peeling garlic with my baby bump

Lots of organic, red potatoes, because nothing says comfort classic like meat and potatoes!

The chicken and all of the chopped ingredients spread out in the pan.

Generously sprinkling seasoning onto my chicken.  My go-to spices are thyme, sage, and paprika.  In the summer, I definitely add fresh thyme and sage from my herb garden.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you.  That is an entire stick of unsalted butter.

About halfway through the roasting process.

The finished product.  Note how the skin is crispy, the vegetables have caramelized, and the meat is falling off the bone.  You shouldn't have trouble carving this up!

So, as you can see it turned out gloriously.  All the butter is totally worth it.  (There is a reason why we don't have comfort food every single day!)  I am pleased to report that it tasted just as scrumptious as it looks.  This is the perfect meal for a dinner party, a date night (I'm looking at you, Valentine's Day), or just to get yourself one good Sunday meal with leftovers to start your week off right.

-One whole four pound or more chicken.  You don't have to get an organic one, but I promise you the meat will be more tender if you do.  It's worth the extra money for the flavor and the peace of mind, in my opinion.

-Veggies.  I always put in about 5-6 potatoes, garlic, a whole yellow onion, and lots of carrots.  Matt thinks the carrots "disappear" when they get cooked, so I always add extra!  We also will add in extra veggies, depending on the season and what we have in the fridge.  Chopped kale is a favorite, as it gets nice and crispy, as well as zucchini and squash in the summer (just make sure you don't toss those puppies in until about halfway through though, as they actually will disintegrate in the heat and oil!).

-Seasoning.  In addition to salt and pepper for brining, I use very generous amounts of paprika, sage, and thyme.  You could use a pre-made poultry seasoning as well, just be cautious of the salt content and adjust brining accordingly.  And fresh herbs are also great, just make sure to toss in more than you think you need, as fresh herbs are less concentrated in flavor.  Add diced garlic.  Lots and lots of garlic.

-Olive oil.  I put about a 1/2 teaspoon at the bottom of the pan and also drizzle even less than that onto the veggies just to make sure they don't stick to the bottom.

1.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  You will roast the chicken for 20 minutes per pound.  
2.  While the oven is preheating, prep your chicken.  Remove from package and toss the juices at the bottom in with it (it will add to a more concentrated chicken flavor).  Remove any strings and inside bits you don't want to roast (you can save these to add to your chicken stock, or simply toss them).  Brine both sides of the chicken, as well as the inside with coarse sea salted fresh cracked black pepper.  Place breast side up in the roasting pan.
3.  Chop your veggies and garlic.  I use about 5-7 cloves of garlic, depending on how large they are.  Place your veggies around the outside of the chicken in your pan.
4.  Add your seasonings.  Sprinkle directly on chicken.  Add one stick of butter to the top of the chicken. Stick that baby in the oven!
5.  Every 20 minutes, get the chicken out and baste and toss your veggies.  This will ensure that the chicken stays moist and the veggies cook evenly and don't stick to the bottom.  I just use a spoon to do this, but if you're using your roasting rack in your own, use an actual baster for the chicken.
6.  For the last 10-20 minutes, remove the lid so the skin can get extra crispy. Remove from oven.  Let your chicken rest for 5 minutes, carve, serve, and temporarily die and go to heaven!

Happy roasting!  Hope you enjoy your chicken!  What are some of your go-to comfort recipes when you hit that February slump?


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