This is a recipe I have been wanting to share for over 5 years and it is one of the reasons I started a cooking blog. This dish is a bit nostalgic for me because the night I met my husband-to-be, he made a whole roasted chicken over an open fire and because we had quite a bit of wine leading up to the main course, the chicken was a bit under cooked and he still talks about it with embarassment. And it really is one of the ONLY times he has not cooked a dish perfectly.
Roasted chicken is one of those dishes I have found to be so simple and when cooked properly, it’s one of the best meals one can have and you never get sick of. HOWEVER, it’s also one of those dishes that can easily be over cooked and the meat can very well be dry. My husband’s roasted chicken recipe is something I am very excited to share because it is very easy to make and you will always end up with a chicken that is juicy and moist in the inside and crispy on the outside, which is the perfect and only acceptable version of a roasted chicken, in my opinion. His method as you will see is using vegetable broth on the bottom of the pan to steam the chicken ensuring the moistness of the meat and at the same time, giving the chicken and the vegetables flavor. I also love this dish because you can always change up the spices, herbs and vegetables and it’s something you can eat on a regular basis.
Here is Andre’s recipe for a roasted chicken and vegetables.
INGREDIENTS (approx. 4 servings)
For the chicken marinade:
3 lb. free-range whole chicken
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp herb salt (or can sub with kosher salt coarse sea salt)
freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
5 garlic cloves smashed
handful of fresh thyme sprigs
slice the other 1/2 of a fresh lemon into 3-4 thin slices
For the roasted vegetables:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion roughly chopped (I used 2 medium sized ones since my grocery store fails to stock large ones)
5 carrots roughly chopped
1 fennel bulb roughly chopped
3 sweet potatoes roughly chopped
1 yellow bell pepper roughly chopped
handful of green beans
handful of cherry tomatoes (I like to keep the stems on)
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 tbsp vegetable seasoned broth (I prefer Knorr)
4 cups boiling water
- Butterfly your whole chicken by placing your chicken breast-side down on a cutting board. Working from the cavity opening at the neck, cut down the middle of the back-bone with a pair of kitchen shears all the way to the other end of the chicken. I don’t cut the back-bone out, but you can if you would like.
- Clean your chicken in cold water getting rid of any excrements in the inside. I also like to cut off any excess skin, the neck bone and the tips of the wings since they aren’t edible.
- Place your chicken in a baking dish or any deep dish that you can fully lay out your chicken. Drizzle a 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil over your chicken and the juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon. Then sprinkle a 1/2 tbsp of herb salt or kosher salt on the breast side of your chicken, making sure to distribute evenly. Then season this side with freshly cracked black pepper generously.
- Turn your chicken over so the cavity is exposed and sprinkle another 1/2 tbsp of herb salt or kosher salt making sure to distribute evenly. Then season this side with freshly cracked pepper generously.
- Add in the 5 smashed cloves of garlic, the fresh thyme sprigs and the slices of the other half of your fresh lemon.
- Massage your chicken to ensure the whole chicken is well seasoned.
- Wrap the dish with your chicken in plastic wrap and marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Clean, peel and roughly chop your choice of vegetables. Just try to keep in mind the cooking times of your veggies and cut them accordingly, but I generally just roughly chop them as pictured.
- Preheat your oven to 475 F (250 C) and take your chicken out of the refrigerator.
- In a large frying pan, heat on high and add in approx. 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Add in your chopped onions and then each vegetable one at a time (I start with onions and then add in the vegetables with the most cooking time first because you want to keep the frying pan hot to brown the vegetables).
- Mix 2 tbsp of vegetable broth with 4 cups of boiling water and mix well.
- Saute your vegetables for about 5-7 minutes or until a bit browned and then add in your vegetable broth and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour your vegetables and the broth onto a baking pan or baking dish, making sure to distribute an even layer.
- Take your marinated chicken and place it on top of the vegetables butterflied down (breast side facing up) and your rosemary springs underneath your chicken (to prevent burning, I also like to make sure the smashed garlic cloves are not on top of the chicken as not to become bitter).
- Place this in the oven at 475 F (250 C) for 45 minutes (make sure the heat is on up top and on the bottom).
- Every 15 minutes, take some broth from the bottom of the pan and pour it on top of the chicken to keep moist.
- After baking for 45 minutes, turn your oven on grill for approx. 5-7 minutes. This may vary from oven to oven, so keep your eye on your chicken to make sure it is not burned but grilled to a beautiful golden-dark brown.
- Please keep in mind that the chickens in Switzerland tend to be smaller in size than in the U.S. and cooking times may vary depending on the size and the oven. When in doubt, before you turn your oven on grill, you can check your meat to make sure it’s cooked all the way through and if necessary, bake the chicken a bit longer. If it is cooked through, turn your oven on grill.
- Make sure to season your chicken well. The key to this dish is to overseason a bit than you are normally used to with meat.
- If you don’t have herb salt, you can also mix regular kosher salt and Old Bay is one of my favorites for this dish.