Whole Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables is a classic dinner every home cook needs in their line up! It's fancy looking, but really very easy to prepare. It's an all-in-one-pot meal, the chicken sits on a bed of root vegetables, roasting both at the same time. Slathered with garlic herb butter, it's crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside! Pair it with golden raisin, pine nut couscous for a stunning family dinner!
The Key to Perfect Garlic Butter Roast Chicken
This favorite Sunday supper is enjoyed often in our house during the cold weather months! Roasting a whole chicken is beautifully elegant, but really easy to prep and throw in the oven. Your kitchen will smell divine with this essential chicken recipe you'll want to make again and again!
- Season the Bird Well - this gives you all those savory comfort food flavors like garlic, butter, herbs, and most importantly salt and pepper.
- Roast at a High Oven Temperature - This cooks the chicken through in 75 minutes, while keeping the breast and thigh meat tender and the skin crispy and golden.
- A Bed of Root Vegetables - The root vegetables are an amazing side dish, basted with delicious chicken dripping flavor! Plus, they also hold the chicken up off the pan, so it can get that perfectly crisp, buttery skin!
- The Root Vegetables - I use root vegetable because they hold up to a high heat and a long roasting time, the same amount of time to also roast a chicken! So they cook together in one pan, ready at the same time. I use carrot, potato, onion, and celery, but you can use different vegetables for variations of this dish. Little red potatoes would be delicious, or try any combination of cauliflower, fennel, red bell pepper, golden beets, parsnip, sweet potato or winter squash. The vegetables give the chicken a place to sit so it can get nice and crispy on the outside while flavoring the veggies in the delicious chicken drippings. Avoid quick cooking vegetables like green beans, peas, asparagus, or tomato, which will turn to mush!
- Whole Roasted Chicken - Buy the best quality chicken you can. An organic whole chicken can sometimes be less expensive per pound than just buying chicken breasts. If the chicken came sealed in plastic with liquid, I would rinse it. I buy chicken from the butcher counter wrapped in brown paper, so the rinse step is optional. Either way, pat it dry with paper towel and proceed with the flavorings!
- Garlic Herb Butter - Make up a quick compound butter by mixing chopped garlic, and fresh minced herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano or sage into softened butter with a spoon or fork. This seasoned butter is then rubbed all over the chicken to coat the skin. Pull the skin up and rub the butter underneath as well. This flavors the meat while protecting the garlic from burning. Although a little burned garlic on the outside of the skin is not a big deal!
- The Cavity - Filling the cavity of the bird gives you another chance to add flavor! Discard the little packet if it came with one, and fill the cavity with a half of a lemon, a couple extra smashed garlic cloves, and the stems or any extra herbs. This adds great flavor but is not totally essential, so if you don't have a lemon, it's okay to leave it out! Use kitchen string to tie the legs tightly together so the chicken cooks evenly.
- Salt and Pepper - Don't underestimate the importance of salt and pepper in a roasted chicken. Be generous, chicken really needs salt to bring out its flavor. To prevent cross contamination, I like to measure out my salt and pepper into a small bowl. When my hands have chicken on them, I don't have to worry about grabbing for the pepper grinder!
- For the Couscous - The couscous is a wonderful companion to this roasted chicken with root vegetables dinner with just a few ingredients that really add amazing flavor! Start it with pine nuts and onion toasted in butter. Then simple Israeli couscous is simmered in stock. Chicken, veggie, or beef stock or even water is fine. A hint of cinnamon and golden raisins that get pump and juicy when mixed in, really bring it all together.
The chicken needs to roast about 75 minutes, but the prep work is really very simple! Line a casserole dish with a bed of chopped root vegetables, seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mix the butter, one clove of minced garlic and the chopped herbs.
Add your chicken to the bed of veggies and rub it with the seasoned butter. Use clean hands and really get the butter everywhere! Pull the skin up on the chicken breasts and spread the butter underneath. Then seasoned generously with salt and pepper.
The extra smashed garlic cloves, a half of a lemon, and the rest of the fresh herbs or stems can be tied up in the cavity and it's ready for the oven!
The chicken is roasted at a high heat, 425° convection bake (this means the fan in the oven is blowing), helping to crisp the skin. If your oven doesn't have this setting, it's ok!
Check the chicken after 75 minutes. Use a thermometer and check that the internal temperature reaches 165°, be sure to check the chicken in multiple places. If it's not 165°, put it back in the oven and recheck every 5 or so minutes.
When your chicken is done, let it rest on the stovetop for 15 minutes before slicing so the juices can redistribute.
How to Make Couscous
While the chicken is roasting, the couscous can be made in about 15 minutes. Start by toasting onion and pine nuts in butter. Pine nuts are an expensive ingredient but we aren't using much and their flavor when toasted is amazing!
This only takes 3 or 4 minutes so don't walk away, stir them and don't let them burn!
Remove the pine nuts and onion to a small bowl and add the couscous to toast slightly in the hot pan. This only takes a minute, then add the stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer about 12 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
Add in your raisins, onion and pine nuts, lemon juice and herbs and mix well to combine.
Serve the couscous as the base layer to pile on the sliced chicken and those rainbow roasted root vegetables! It's truly a heavenly combination!
A complete luxurious meal, fancy enough for company, but simple enough for just the family, with amazing leftovers!
Tips for the Perfect Chicken
- Storage - Store leftover servings of the chicken, veggies and couscous together in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave.
- Chop the Root Vegetables in Uniform Size - Try to chop your veggies in large chunks and get them all to be as close to the same size as you can so they cook evenly. Cutting them too small can cause them to burn by the time your chicken cooks through. There is no need to peel carrots or potatoes! Just wash them well, the peel is nutritious and edible.
- Be Safe when Handling Raw Chicken - Remember that any surface touched by the raw chicken should go straight into the dishwasher or be sanitized. Pre-measure your salt and pepper so you aren't touching them with chicken hands! And then of course, wash your hands, turn the faucet on with your elbow and scrub with soap! Be careful disposing of the packaging so you don't drip chicken juice on your counter or floor.
- Let it Rest! - Slicing immediately into a hot from the oven chicken will have the juice running everywhere instead of staying in the meat where you want it. Let the chicken sit on the stovetop for 15 minutes to redistribute the juices before slicing.
What to Serve with Roasted Chicken
Whole Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables is really a complete meal in itself! Especially if you add the couscous, it's the perfect bed for the sliced chicken and roasted veggies.
If you are serving more people, you may want to add another side dish or two. This meal would be delicious served with a simple green vegetable like blanched green beans or broccoli. Add fresh greens with a Prosciutto Parmesan Salad, a Pear & Blue Cheese Salad with Glazed Honey Walnuts, or some crispy Parmesan Kale Chips.
Ways to Use Leftover Roasted Chicken
A whole roasted chicken is worth every effort, with amazing leftover possibilities the next day! But first, don't waste the chicken bones! Make Homemade Chicken Stock by throwing the bones in a large pot along with the vegetable scraps from the onion, carrot and celery. You can also freeze the bones and veggie scraps to make stock anytime. Fill it with cold water and let it simmer on low at least a few hours, or until reduced in volume and a rich golden color.
The leftover chicken is also great for follow up meals the next day!
- Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- Chicken Apple Potstickers
- Curry Chicken Salad
- Chicken Tortilla Soup.
- Quesadillas made in the panini press for the kid's lunch
- Quick Flatbread Pizzas with pesto or BBQ sauce
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Roasted Veggie Flatbread Pizza
- Chopped Dinner Salad
- Taco night with black beans or rice, Guacamole and Salsa
The safest and best way to tell if chicken is cooked through is to use a kitchen thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°. Make sure to check the temperature at different parts of the chicken, especially between the drumstick and the breast. The temperature needs to be 165° in all places for it to be done. Otherwise put it back in the oven and check again every 5 to 10 minutes.
I usually make this recipe in a casserole pan. However, a Dutch oven roasted chicken works great too and is beautiful enough to serve in! A cast iron skillet will also work as long as it is large enough to accommodate the root vegetables. Really any pan that is oven safe and large enough to fit the chicken and vegetables is just fine to use!
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Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables and Couscous
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For the Root Vegetables
- 1 large onion
- 2 ribs celery
- 2 to 3 carrots
- 2 potatoes any kind
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 grinds fresh black pepper
For the Roasted Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 Tablespoon butter at room temperature
- 3 cloves garlic (divided)
- 1 Tablespoon fresh herbs any combination of rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage or 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning or any chicken seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 grinds fresh black pepper
- ½ lemon
For the Couscous
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup onion finely chopped
- 1½ cups Israeli couscous
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 grinds fresh black pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- fresh chives or parsley for garnish
For the Roasted Chicken
- Preheat oven to 425° convection bake.
- Chop vegetables into LARGE chunks so they don't burn before the chicken is done (See photo above). Arrange in a 9×12 casserole pan, and toss with oil, salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, mix together the butter, 1 clove of garlic minced and 1 Tablespoon of the chopped fresh herbs.
- Prep the Chicken: rinse, pat dry with paper towel, and discard the little packet in the cavity if it came with one. Set chicken on the bed of vegetables, tuck wing tips under. Smear the entire chicken with the seasoned butter, even lift up the skin and smear some butter under it. Then season the chicken everywhere with salt and pepper. Put the half lemon, extra smashed garlic cloves and stems or extra herbs in the cavity of the chicken and tie the legs together with string.
- Roast for 75 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165° and the juices run clear. Be sure to check the chicken in multiple places, especially between the drumstick and the breast where is usually needs to cook the longest. If it's not 165°, put it back in the oven and recheck every 5 or so minutes.
- Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.
For the Couscous
- Melt butter over medium heat in a sauce pot and add the pine nuts and onions with a pinch of salt. Toast until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Do not burn them! Stir often and don't walk away! Transfer to a bowl.
- To the now empty warm pot, add couscous, cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir a minute until couscous is lightly toasted. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, COVER, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 12 minutes stirring occasionally.
- When the couscous is just finishing, add the raisins, lemon juice, pine nuts and onions, and lastly the chives (parsley would work too).
- Serve chicken with the roasted vegetables on a bed of couscous.
- Other vegetables can be substituted such as baby red potatoes, cauliflower, fennel, red bell pepper, golden beets, parsnip, sweet potato or winter squash. Be sure to chop them in large pieces so they don't burn before the chicken is done.
- Roast chicken and vegetables together in any oven safe pan including a casserole dish, Dutch oven, or cast iron skillet
- Save and freeze the roasted chicken bones and raw vegetable scraps to make your own Homemade Chicken Stock.
A great meal for a cold, rainy day. I've made this before, and following Meryl's directions, it turns out just right every time.
This is the best roasted chicken recipe I have ever used. Be sure to cut the vegetables as directed (big chunks so they will not cook too fast and burn). The cooking times were just right, and the couscous was delicious!!