On a Sunday evening, there are few things I love more than cooking a fantastic dinner and eating it on the couch watching Mad Men. It’s a formula that can’t be improved upon – except for those Sundays when I am able, in between grocery shopping and vegetable prep, to squeeze in a Skype call with my increasingly mobile and perpetually adorable niece. Last weekend was filled with great friends and lots of wine, and by Sunday, I was fully ready for my weekly hibernation. And with unseasonably cold temperatures of late, something warm and homey sounded just right – a roast chicken recipe from Bon Appetit incorporating several of the vegetables from my most recent CSA box.
The best part of roasting any kind of poultry is the potential for the next iteration, transforming the chicken dinner into the chicken and dumpling soup. Sunday chicken means Monday evening spent making homemade stock, channeling my Oma as I pick every scrap of edible meat from the carcass. It’s a testament to this recipe then, that I ate the leftovers just as they were for two lunches and two dinners, only caving on the final night, tossing the last of the chicken with some pasta and garlic greens pesto.
Crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, slightly spicy and infused with citrus flavors, this has officially become my go-to recipe for roast chicken.
Italian Roast Chicken with Vegetables
Adapted from Bon Appetit
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons minced garlic plus 4 whole cloves and 1/2 head of garlic, halved crosswise
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large fennel bulb trimmed and cut into 8 wedges, plus fronds in large pieces
1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
1 small bunch carrots, peeled and cut into quarters
8 shallots, halved lengthwise
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 halved
1 orange, cut crosswise into slices
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more
1 3-4 pound kosher chicken
Preheat oven to 450. In a small bowl, mix together lemon zest, minced garlic, 4 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and red pepper. Set aside.
Prep your vegetables and toss fennel, potatoes, carrots, shallots, lemon and orange slices, and garlic cloves in a large roasting pan with 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Wash the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Rub all over (inside and out) with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and spice rub. Stuff the cavity with lemon halves and half a garlic head, cut crosswise. Set a roasting rack over the vegetables and place the chicken on rack, breast side up, tucking the legs and wings underneath. After 20 minutes, flip the chicken upside down and roast for an additional 40 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 165 in the thickest part of the thigh.
When done, transfer the chicken to a large cutting board and rest 15 minutes. Pull the citrus and fennel fronds out of the roasting pan, and place the pan over two burners. Cook the vegetables over medium heat until the liquid evaporates, stirring frequently. When done, place the pan under broiler for approximately 5 minutes, until the veggies are browned in spots.
Carve the chicken and serve over vegetables, garnishing with citrus slices.