Is it winter or spring? The wacky weather we have been having says spring, and the snows have melted unusually early this year. But spring has not sprung. Not yet. There are still root vegetables filling the root cellar and produce bins at the stores. Not even the wild leeks have begun to emerge from the forest floors. We have been making maple syrup all week, so no, it is not spring.
Roasted chicken makes a festive dish any time of the year. Root vegetables added to the roasting pan makes a one-dish meal that is hard to beat. My stovetop is engaged with boiling sap for syrup, so a one-dish meal in the oven is good thing.
In this dish I have golden beets, fingerling potatoes, onion, carrots, celery root, and garlic. The veggies take on the flavor from the chicken juices – a delightful combination. A fresh cabbage salad would not go amiss here. Serve with a good red wine and you won’t mind waiting just a bit longer for spring.
Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables
Serves 4 to 6
1 whole roasting chicken (3 1/2 to 5 pounds), neck and giblets removed
2 tablespoons canola or extra virgin olive oil
6 cups peeled and cubed root vegetables (any combination of beets, carrots, celery root, parsnips, rutabagas, salsify, turnips)
2 cups cubed fingerling potatoes
1 to 2 onions, cut into wedges
1 whole bulb garlic, cloves separated and peeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to brush
3 teaspoons dried sage
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry. Set in a large roasting pan. (The pan must be large enough to hold the vegetables in a single layer surrounding the chicken.) If you like, tie together the legs with cotton string or thread to prevent them from overcooking. Brush with the oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the sage.
3. In a large bowl, combine the root vegetables, potatoes, and onions in a large bowl. Place a few garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of the sage in the chicken. Add the remaining garlic cloves to the vegetables along with the remaining 1 teaspoon sage. Add the oil, salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer around the chicken.
4. Roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (20 to 25 minutes per pound), until the juices run clear from the chicken, a leg moves easily, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F. Stir the vegetables once or twice during the roasting to promote even roasting and baste the vegetables with the yummy chicken juices.
5. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a serving platter and keep warm under a tent of foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Recipes from the Root Cellar. ©2010 Andrea Chesman. All rights reserved