I was watching the Food Network last night while finishing up work and starting to cook dinner, and all I can say is CHOCOLATE! Three hours of cooking show background noise later, and every single recipe was based on chocolate. So clearly the internet is flooding with what to cook for dessert on Valentine's Day (also known as Saturday, if you prefer not to dedicate a day to the patron saint of love). But what's for dinner? A perfect roast chicken. Regardless of how you view February 14th or who you treat to a home-cooked meal, making something simple yet impressive is always a good call. And carving up a golden juicy chicken on a brightly colored bed of roasted fruits and vegetables will do just the trick.
I created this recipe last summer when figs were in season. While figs aren't in the trees or the grocery stores this time of year, apples and pears are, and either would roast perfectly alongside chicken, vegetables, and rosemary. Regardless of which fruit you chose, this one-pan-er would be a great precursor to the chocolate extravaganza that's likely to follow.
Everyone has their favorite recipe for a classic roast chicken. How to get the juiciest meat, crispiest skin, and most flavor are points argued all over the world by professional chefs and at-home cooks alike. I add a twist and throw some classic vegetables and fruit into my roasting pan. This way, when you remove the chicken, vegetables and fruit before deglazing the pan, it's not only chicken bits that are left behind to infuse the drippings. The sweetness of the figs (or apples or pears) and flavor of the vegetables are incorporated as well.
Truth be told, unfortunately the Man and I will not be cozying up to a warm, home-cooked meal on Saturday night, but instead will be nibbling on airplane peanuts somewhere in the sky between Idaho and Connecticut. Send me your roast chicken photos so I can live vicariously through you and your delicious dinners!
(FIG AND VEGETABLE) ROAST CHICKEN
- a 3 lb chicken
- 2 lemons, 1 quartered and 1 sliced (divided)
- 1 celery stalk with leaves, sliced into crescent moons
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 6 sprigs thyme and rosemary (divided)
- 6 cloves garlic, 3 smashed and 3 halved (divided)
- 1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
- 1 leek, halved lengthwise and cut into 3” segments
- 1 small delicata squash, halved, seeded and sliced into crescent moons
- 1 yam, halved and sliced into half-moons
- 1 carrot, cut into 1” segments
- a handful of green beans, topped, tailed and halved
- 6 black mission figs, de-stemmed and halved (or 1 apple/pear, cored and sliced)
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup white wine
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Oil the bottom of a roasting pan, and set aside.
Meanwhile, rinse and thoroughly dry the chicken. Rub it with olive oil, and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the lemon quarters, celery, parsley, 3 sprigs of thyme, 3 sprigs of rosemary, and the smashed garlic cloves. Tie the legs together with kitchen string, and place the chicken breast-side up in the pan.
Combine the remaining lemon slices, rosemary, thyme, and garlic halves in a bowl with the onion, leek, vegetables and fruit, and toss with additional olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and spread the vegetable mixture around the chicken in the pan.
Place the pan in the oven and cook for 25 minutes, then lower the heat to 400 degrees for approximately 1 hour until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165 degrees and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a serving platter, tent with foil, and let the chicken rest about 20 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, place the roasting pan on a burner and carefully pour in the white wine. Turn the heat to low and deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom with a wooden spatula to infuse the drippings into the wine. Once the desired consistency is achieved, pour the sauce into a vessel to serve alongside the chicken.