Foolproof One-Pot Meal: Simple Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables

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Simple Roasted Chicken 

I used to serve a different variation of roasted chicken every other Sunday until I stumbled upon Thomas Keller’s recipe for simple roasted chicken in his “Ad Hoc at Home” cookbook and realized that the most deliciously tender chicken is also the simplest.  The trick to this juicy bird is to thoroughly dry the chicken and add as little moisture as possible. Resist the temptation to add oil, butter or vegetables with high water content.  When you place the chicken in the hot oven, you can hear the dry skin crackle and imagine it sealing in all the delicious juices.  The result is one of my family’s favorite, most requested meals.


    1 whole chicken, about 4 to 4 1/2 pounds
    Coarse kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    2 to 3 pounds root vegetables (any combination of potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, onions, shallots)
    1 head garlic
    1 handful fresh herbs (I like thyme, rosemary, sage and tarragon)


    Large, oven-safe pan.  I’ve used a giant skillet, a 9-by-9-inch dark baking dish, and cast iron braiser (pictured) – all work well.
    Paper towels
    Trussing string*
    *Tip: The markup on trussing string at grocery and specialty stores is enormous.  Instead, buy string at a hardware store for a fraction of the cost.
    Oven mitts
    Meat thermometer
    Aluminum foil
    Wine, optional

Step by step directions:

1. Dry the chicken. I do this the day before if I can remember. Rinse your chicken and, using paper towels, dry it off as much as possible inside and out.  I stuff paper towels inside the cavity, wrap it in more paper towels, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.  Except when I forget.  Then I hastily dry it immediately before starting on the rest of these steps and it’s still awesome.

2. Temper the chicken. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for as long as you can, up to 3 hours before you cook it. Again, this is a step I forget as often as not but I notice the difference. If you have time, do it. The goal is to get the chicken to room temperature before cooking so that it cooks evenly.

3. Preheat the oven. Oh my gosh! We’re so close to cooking this thing!  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure it’s up to temperature before putting it in the bird.

4. Prep the vegetables. While your chicken is coming to room temperature, prepare your vegetables.  Leave the skin on potatoes but peel any other vegetables.


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