Perfect Comfort Food for a Chilly Spring Weekend

I’m kicking off with my Lemon-Herb Roast Chicken I made last weekend, who doesn’t love some good comfort food for a weekend of chilly spring weather?  I got a 5.5 lb. free-range chicken, raised by the local Sage Creek hutterite colony, roasted it with all the vegetables, and the day after I did a pot of homemade chicken stock with the leftover carcass and pieces.  The next day I made a pot of Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Dumplings, using the stock, and had my family over for dinner.  I love that you can make it last about a week and get a lot out of it.  So good!

Easy Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

5-6 lb. roasting chicken
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon, quartered
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
1 large yellow onion, halved.  cut one half in half again, thickly slice other half for roast veg
1 bunch fresh thyme
handful of fresh parsley
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temp

Vegetables for tossing in:
4-6 large carrots, cut 1″ pieces
1 bulb fennel, tops and core removed, then halved and sliced thickly
whole garlic cloves, from 1 whole head, no need to peel
6-7 red potatoes, halve small ones, quarter large ones

Preheat oven to 400 deg.
Keep half the herb bunches whole, finely chop the other half.  Mix the chopped herbs into the softened butter.  Remove chicken giblets and rinse the bird inside and out, remove any leftover fat or pin feathers.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Season outside and inside cavity with s + p.  Stuff the cavity with the whole sprigs of thyme and parsley, lemon pieces, garlic, and onion half pieces.  Brush or rub the outside of the chicken with the herb butter, work your fingers between the skin and breasts and rub the butter under skin.  Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wings under.  Season the outside w/ s + p again.

Toss vegetables in a large bowl with enough olive oil to coat, season with s + p.  Spread around in the roasting pan and place the chicken on top (breast-side up).  Lay any remaining whole sprigs of thyme on top of veg.

In she goes

Roast for approximately 1 1/2 hours, basting every 20-30 minutes.  You can tell that it’s done when the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 deg F, the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh, and the legs can be wiggled and moved easily.  When done, take the chicken out of the pan and place on a platter or cutting board, let rest 15 min. covered with foil.  Serve with the delicious vegetables and bon appetit!

While roasting, if the pan drippings and veg start getting too brown and crisp, add a little liquid to the pan.  (If you loaded it with vegetables to roast in there like I did, you won’t have this problem).  The roasted vegetables got to be super caramelized and sweet, my hubby loved it that way!!

Here’s a pic of my first roasted chicken I did, a while ago.  Pretty delicious for my first one!  Pic of this one is better too…

***What I will try the next time: I roasted my potatoes on a separate sheet pan this time, but next time will toss in the roasting pan with the rest of the vegetables and chicken.  Try 375 deg. for first 1/2 hour, then up to 425 deg., til the breast meat reaches 160 degrees, and thigh meat reaches 165-170 (about 45-ish min. longer?).  Baste after the first half hour.

Well there you have it folks!  It will be great for me to refer back to this post next time I go to make this again, and hopefully some of you who stumble upon this recipe will be inspired and can get some use out of it!  It’s really pretty easy, and after you do it a couple times then you can whip out a big, special, comforting roast chicken dinner in no time 🙂  Cheers!


15 responses to “Perfect Comfort Food for a Chilly Spring Weekend

  1. The pictures are lovely and I can almost smell and taste how wonderful it was. I will try this the next time I roast a chicken. I sometimes put a lemon or two in the cavity…have you heard of doing that?
    Lv, Rita

  2. Sorry…. I went back to read it again and I do see that you put some lemon inside the chicken…that smells so wonderful doesn’t it?

  3. Yum! How did the dumplings turn out? That’s something I have never done myself but I always liked Chicken & Dumplings when I was younger.

    • The dumplings were so good. My mom has always done chicken (or turkey) and dumplings, her best dish I think, and just uses the bisquick mix which is actually really good. I herb the dumpling mixture up a little, season, and drop them in with a cookie scooper. I took a picture but the pic didn’t do it justice 🙂

  4. Kathy Thiesen

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. It looks so good! Right now, I don’t feel like cooking or eating. Maybe I will lose some weight!

  5. I finally made this chicken yesterday – delicious!!! It could have roasted for a bit longer – it was in a 400 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours – but I am still getting used to this oven. And I haven’t been able to find my meat thermometer since we moved – guess I better buy a new one! Todd said this recipe is definitely a keeper! Thanks for sharing it! (I am glad you posted pictures, so I could see what it was supposed to look like when it went into the oven.)

    • Wow I’m so excited you made it, I hope it was great! I’m so flattered that someone/you cooked up a recipe I posted on my blog… kinda makes me nervous, I hope I didn’t leave anything out and had it written up all right! 🙂 I wrote it up just how I did it, the only thing I wanted to turn out differently the next time is to have the roasted veggies not roast so long… Anyway, I hope it went well and so glad you made it Kathy! 🙂

      • Kathy Thiesen

        I think you did a great job of putting the recipe on there. I was glad you put a picture of the butter/herb blend on the chicken. It doesn’t stick real well to the chicken, and I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to try to cover the whole chicken with it or not. But the way you did it worked out perfectly. And for the record, I think you are probably a WAY better cook than I am!

      • You’re too sweet Kathy! Did you pat the chicken w/ paper towels to dry real good after rinsing it off? The butter would stick better then. You could even pat it dry, then just let it set there for 15-30 min. to dry a little more. Talking about this is making my mouth water and want to make it again soon! When will you be back here to visit? When you do come back here, you guys will have to come over for dinner w/ my ma and pa 🙂

  6. YUMMMMM!! I just subscribed to your blog so I can get all the comfort food updates from now on. I love lemon-pepper tenders and I bet this is amazing! I probably should’ve tried a whole chicken before going straight to a turkey. Lol!

    • Thanks Missy, I’m so happy you subscribed! If you do a whole roasted chicken soon, definitely try this one out… it’s a great one for sure. I’ve done quite a few chickens but still have yet to do the daunting task of the Thanksgiving bird! Maybe this year. …Maybe. 🙂

  7. Love the idea of using fennel – Yum! And brilliant idea to use leftovers and the stock for chicken and dumplings.

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