Go ahead and make this cozy one-dish meal the centerpiece of your Sunday supper. Hailing from Molly Stevens cookbook All About Roasting, it’s not meant to be fancy or elegant—just tasty and very satisfying; and Molly doesn’t disappoint.
For the full effect you want to use a large 5-to-6 pound chicken, sometimes labeled as oven-roasters. If unable to find large chickens, use two, three-pounders, however your cooking times will be less, so cut your veggies smaller. Molly uses a unique technique to keep the breast from drying out by sneaking some diced bacon under the skin. As the bacon slowly renders its fat, it moistens the breast while imparting some smoky goodness.
Then for even more flavor, the bird gets brushed with melted butter mixed with honey and balsamic vinegar. This tangy-sweet glaze turns the breast a rich caramelly-varnish color, even though it’s roasting in a moderate oven. Make sure to use a low-sided roasting pan or gratin dish which allows more of the bird to get browned.
You can choose your own hardy root vegetables for the mix. We used carrots, parsnips and celery root, although you could substitute any of that with potatoes (sweet or regular), turnips, beets, etc. The veggies will soak up plenty of savory juices as they roast.
Roast Chicken with Bacon and Root Vegetables
- 1, 5-6 lb. chicken
- 1 medium-thick slice of bacon, diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. mixed root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes, beets, turnips, celery root and/or rutabaga, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 Tbsp. dried herbes de Provence, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 medium onion. ends cut off, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- Trim and Season the Chicken — Over the sink, remove the giblets and discard or reserve for another use. Drain off any liquid and dry the chicken inside and out with paper towels. Pull off and discard any large deposits of fat form the neck or body cavity opening. Use your fingertips to gently loosen the skinover the chicken breast, starting at the cavity opening, and push the diced bacon under the skin, doing your best to spread it evenly over the breast. Season the chicken generously all over with salt and pepper. Let the chicken stand for one hour.
- Heat the Oven — Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat 375°F (350° convection).
- Season the Vegetables — Place all of the vegetables (except red beets if using) in a large mixing bowl. If using red beets, place them in a separate bowl so they don’t stain the other veggies. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and season with 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper, tossing to coat.
- Make the Glaze — Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the vinegar and honey and set aside in a warm place.
- Roast the Chicken and Vegetables — Arrange the onion slices in a single layer in the center of a low-sided (important) roasting pan or dish (approx. 15″ x 12″). Set the chicken breast side up on the onions and tie the legs together using kitchen twine.
Arrange the veggies all around . They should be a dense single layer if possible. Slide the chicken into the oven, preferably with the legs facing away from the door. After 25 minutes, brush the breast and drumsticks with some of the glaze and nudge the vegetables around with a metal spatula to promote even cooking. Don’t worry if you can’t stir them thoroughly, it’s nice to have some more browned than others.
Continue roasting, brushing on additional glaze, and stirring the veggies at 20-minute intervals, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (without touching bone) registers 170 degrees.If at any point the chicken seems to be getting darker on one side than the other, rotate the pan in the oven.
- Rest, Carve and Serve — Transfer the chicken to a carving board (preferably one with a trough to catch the juices, and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Leave the sliced onions in the pan with the other vegetables, and give them all a good stir with the metal spatula, scraping up any browned bits and coating the pan with the juices.
Poke a few different vegetables with the tip of a knife to be sure they are nice and tender; if not, return the pan to the oven for at least another 10 minutes to finish roasting while the chicken rests.
Carve the chicken and add any accumulated juices to the vegetables, giving them all a good stir before serving.
Recipe from Molly Stevens cookbook All About Roasting