Simple Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

Whole chickens do not roast evenly. The lean breast is always done first but condemned to stay in the oven to cook some more while the muscular legs and fatty thighs catch up. Trussing a chicken (binding its limbs tightly to the carcass) only accentuates this problem. So I have long preferred to roast mine untrussed, allowing improved heat flow over the legs and thighs to shorten their cooking time, thus delivering a more uniformly succulent chicken. We hope you enjoy creating this delicious meal, perfectly paired with a wine selected by winemaker, Jamie Marfelll. Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) combined finely minced sage, rosemary and parsley
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) soft butter
  • 1 free-range chicken, 2½ to 3 lb (1.25 to 1.5 kg)
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) sweet paprika
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1/2 lemon, grilled until lightly charred
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) good quality chicken stock
Root Vegetables
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 medium sunchokes, scrubbed and halved
  • 4 medium beets, peeled and quartered
  • 4 small turnips, scrubbed and quartered
  • 12 baby carrots, scrubbed and trimmed
  • 12 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preferably 24 hours in advance, combine the herbs and butter and massage into the skin of the chicken on all sides. Sprinkle with paprika. Place on a rack and set aside in the refrigerator.
  2. Set one rack in the lower third of the oven and another in the middle. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  3. Combine the garlic and root vegetables in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate them in a single layer. Add the oil, season, and toss well until evenly coated. Place on the lower rack of the oven.
  4. Salt the chicken generously inside and out. In a skillet just large enough to accommodate the bird, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the bird lightly on all sides. Place it breast side up on a roasting rack and carefully stuff the thyme, lemon, and garlic into the cavity. Set the rack in a roasting pan, add to it the oil from the skillet, and place in the centre of the oven.
  5. After 15 minutes, turn the vegetables, baste the bird, and lower the heat to 350°F (180°C). After another 20 minutes, baste again. After a total roasting time of 45 minutes, test the bird for doneness – check if juices run clear from a pierced thigh or if the internal temperature of the breast has reached 160°F (70°C). Allow to rest 15 minutes before carving. Serve accompanied with the near-caramelized root vegetables and, if you choose, the chicken jus.

Substitution: Any good root vegetables work with this dish. Whatever you select remember to cut them up in roughly equal-sized pieces so that they will cook at the same rate.