When roasting a chicken is an essential skill for professional cooks, the task seems really intimidating for a lot of people! They think that roasting a whole chicken in the oven is so complicated and requires extensive knowledge of the kitchen!
Truthfully, making a roast chicken is neither complicated nor hard at all, it just needs some patience. If you follow the steps and instructions, you will be able to roast your chicken easily like a pro!
In this article, I will present a tasty classic dish from French tradition based on roasted chicken and vegetables. The chicken, in this super easy recipe, is roasted in the oven over a bed of vegetables.
How To Make Home Style Roast Chicken With Vegetables:
To make a perfect roast chicken dinner, you need first to know how to buy the right chicken! Yes, the most important thing to consider is size! For roasting, the ideal chicken to cook is 4 to 5 pounds; smaller birds do not give good results. Also, I recommend getting an air-chilled chicken, rather than a water-chilled one. The air-chilled chicken is not packed with extra water, which allows it to cook more evenly. Moreover, it contains 80% fewer bacteria than water-chilled chicken, as a University of Nebraska study confirmed.
Second, you should make a decision before prepping the chicken, whether to wash it or not! USDA specialists are advising against washing raw poultry. According to them, this will not rinse away the bacteria, but on the contrary, it will increase the risk of contaminating other parts of your kitchen. However, the majority of chefs around the world rinse and pat dry chickens before cooking them.
So, make your decision and start!
1 4 to 5 lb Whole Chicken (2 to 2,5 kg)
1 Medium Onion
4 to 5 Garlic Cloves
1 Big Lemon
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
2 Fresh Whole Rosemary Sprigs
2 to 3 tbsp Butter (melted)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
kitchen String to tie legs (You can use Aluminum foil or dental floss instead)
Vegetables to roast under the chicken: Sweet Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, Tomatoes, Green Beans (You can add any veggie of your choice)
Before you prepare your chicken, you should take it out of the fridge about 1 hour before roasting (Do not start with a cold bird because when it goes in the oven the temperature is going to drop and it will not cook evenly).
Prepare the chicken:
Start by cutting off the head, the legs and the wingtips which would burn in the oven.
Cut the end of the butt to avoid ruining your dish as it contains a very bitter substance.
Eviscerate the bird, and remove the fat from the side of the chicken.
Using paper towels, blot the bird on all sides, including the cavity. Try to get it as dry as possible, because any excess moisture will prevent the chicken from getting that crispy skin required.
Generously season the outside, without forgetting the underside with salt and freshly ground black pepper (You can use whatever seasonings you like, and make sure you use a lot of them!).
Take any pointy implement (I use a toothpick), and poke about 30 holes all over your chicken, including the legs (Just make sure you cover every bit of the surface). This amazing hack lets excess moisture out, guaranteeing you better results (Here you will find more cooking hacks!).
Stuff the cavity with vegetables and aromatics:
First, season inside the cavity with salt and pepper.
Cut the lemon in half, then into 8 wedges, and place them in the cavity.
Insert the garlic cloves, the onion cut into 4 pieces, and the rosemary sprigs.
Once done, use kitchen string, dental floss, or aluminum foil to tie the bird legs together.
Prepare the pan and start roasting:
Preheat your oven to 450°F/ 230°C, and peel the vegetables.
In a deep roasting pan, place your veggies cut into wedges.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, and whatever fresh herbs you like.
put olive oil all over the vegetables, and mix.
When you finish covering the pan with vegetables, place the bird on top of them.
To roast your chicken perfectly, start with 15 minutes at 450°F/230°C, and then turn down the temperature to 350°F/180°C to finish the cooking time according to the chicken size:
4 lb chicken: 15 min. at 450°F/230°C + 1h 20 min. at 350°F/180°C
4.5 lb chicken: 15 min. at 450°F/230°C + 1h 30 min. at 350°F/180°C
5 lb chicken: 15 min. at 450°F/230°C + 1h 40 min. at 350°F/180°C
Once roasted, Pour the melted butter over the chicken and cook for 5 minutes. This will make it nicely browned and extra juicy. Butter is used for taste but also for coloring the meat. We do not use it at the beginning of the cooking because it will burn.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving in order not to lose the aromatic juices.
In this recipe, we are roasting a chicken over a bed of veggies. But, if you do not like to use vegetables, you can roast your bird on an oven rack, and serve it with your favorite side dish. In fact, using the rack is a good way to roast a chicken. It raises the bird from the base of the pan, allowing the heat fully circulate around it, and lets excess juices to run off.
Making Chicken Stock (bonus recipe):
If you want to reduce waste and get the most out of your chicken, do not throw out all the leftover pieces. You can make great homemade chicken stock by simmering these pieces and bones in a pot with water, veggies, spices, and herbs.
How To Prepare Homemade Chicken Stock:
For about 1 to 1.5 lb Leftover Chicken (450 to 675g), you will need:
3 Carrots, halved
A couple of White Onions, quartered
A couple of Celery Sticks, chopped roughly
A couple of Fresh Bay Leaves
5 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
5 Parsley Stems
1 Rosemary Leaf
4 Garlic Cloves, crushed
6 to 7 Whole Peppercorns
Put the leftover chicken in a large pot, along with your prepared veggies and herbs (Do not worry about peeling your veggies, just wash them. The skin kept on will add extra flavor!).
Add whole peppercorns to provide a nice flavor to your stock.
Do not put anymore salt (Your leftover chicken contains salt).
Cover all with water (Fill up your pan with water as much as you can, since it is going to reduce a lot after 3 to 4 hours cooking).
Bring it to a boil over high heat, and then reduce it to simmer for about 4 hours, skimming the fat off as you need.
Cook your stock covered and do not stir it since it will get cloudy.
It is great to make your own chicken stock because it is so versatile and you can use it in so many recipes such as soups and risottos. If you are interested to know how to prepare Homemade Beef Stock, read this article.
I hope this article could help you to make this lovely French family chicken recipe at home!
Give it a go and Impress your friends, your family, or even yourself! The chicken comes out from the oven just perfect; crunchy on the outside and juicy inside. The veggies cooked on the bottom of the pan soak up all the flavorful juices and make a really good side dish.
Personally, this one-dish roast chicken with vegetables of French cuisine is one of the dishes that have obsessed me the most, during my life as a chef!