Roast Chicken and Vegetables

Local carrots from Adawehi Farm

Today was one of those CRAZY days that just called for some comfort food. For me. I needed the comfort food. My kids were clamoring to eat their birthday party goody bags full of chocolate in lieu of an actual meal. They actually tried to win me over by telling me they would pair the chocolate with blueberries and milk. No dice.

A nice meal of roasted chicken and vegetables might sound absolutely nuts to prepare after a full day of chaos, but it really is one of the simplest weeknight meals I can make. It requires very little preparation and, as long as I have a roaster chicken on hand, I can use whatever veggies are lurking around my kitchen.

Recently, I have bought my chickens from one of the farmers at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market – Aaron from the Red Dirt Ranch. He and his wife raise pastured chickens – lovely birds out and about, enjoying the fresh air of Ellenboro, North Carolina. You can really taste the difference between a local, grass-fed chicken and a Perdue fryer. Truly. I have also found great chickens at our local Earth Fare (if you register for their email, they will email you a coupon for a free chicken plus carrots and mashed potatoes! ).

 

Directions: Once you have your chicken (about 3 to 5 pounds), you just need some veggies. Tonight, we used carrots, beets, and potatoes – all from NC as well. Cut your veggies into bite-sized pieces to promote even cooking. Put your chicken in the baking pan, breast side up, and surround the chicken with the chopped veggies. Sprinkle everything with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

(As for the chicken preparation… I always store my chickens in an extra plastic bag just to be safe. When I am ready to use the chicken, I prepare everything right in the sink – drain the chicken of any extra liquid and remove any giblets that might be inside the cavity. Pat the chicken dry. That’s it. Pretty simple. After I am done with the chicken preparation step, I always give the sink a quick cleaning before I move on to prepare anything else!)

 
My daughter stole a bite before I took the photo!

Put the chicken and vegetables in the oven at 375 degrees for about an hour. At 45 minutes, I took about 3 slices of butter and used a butter knife to rub it into the skin so that the skin would get nice and crispy in the last fifteen minutes or so.  When you think that your chicken is done, poke a thigh with a fork – you should see clear juices running down the side. If the juices are not clear, let it keep cooking. If you like to use a meat thermometer, you want your chicken to get to about 165 degrees. When you pull the chicken out of the oven, let it rest for about 15 minutes before you slice it.

Prepare as many vegetables as you want – the more the merrier – just remember not to pile the veggies too high if you want them to get nicely roasted. If you need a lot of veggies, perhaps you should put your chicken in a bigger pan. I could just eat a large bowl of roasted vegetables! Don’t they look great?

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