This beautiful bird was served on Thanksgiving instead of the traditional turkey. I had no qualms about swapping poultry because turkeys are harder to find here in November and Jérôme isn’t a fan. And honestly, once I discovered this stellar recipe from Bon Appétit, I knew that it would be the perfect centerpiece to my overly ambitious Thanksgiving dinner. I cooked for four, and yet couldn’t bring myself to tone things down. Alongside the chicken there was celery root purée with hazelnuts, pommes Anna with fresh herbs, sausage and cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, coconut cupcakes and deep dish pumpkin pie. Needless to say, we were swimming in leftovers for about a week afterwards even after sending our guests home with doggie bags and taking sweets to our neighbors. I’m not one to complain though…
Unfortunately since Thanksgiving is a holiday meant for eating and celebrating with friends and family, I didn’t get many pictures of the spread. You’ll just have to believe me when I tell you that this chicken was golden, with crunchy skin and amazing flavor, and the root vegetables nearly stole the show as they were caramelized and almost confit after hours spent in the oven. This was simple and quick to throw together, but was also the perfect main dish for a celebration. And trust me, I’m really hoping I’ll have another occasion to make it again really soon.
Roasted chicken with root vegetables and beer pan juices Adapted slightly from Bon Appétit
1 4 lb chicken
Fresh thyme sprigs + extra chopped
Fresh rosemary sprigs + extra chopped
2 t sea salt
3 T butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 large red beets, peeled and roughly chopped
2-3 large parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 lb Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and roughly chopped
3 t olive oil
1-2 C beer (your choice, something good!)
Prepare your chicken the day before, or at least a few hours. In a small bowl, mix chopped herbs, butter, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the sea salt (don’t worry if the mixture isn’t smooth). Cut a small hole at the base of each breast and thigh and gently pry the chicken’s skin loose. Using 1/4 of the butter mixture each time, slide under the skin of breasts and thighs, massaging gently to evenly distribute the seasoning. Place a sprig (or half of one) of rosemary and thyme into each opening, and place the rest inside the chicken cavity with another 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Sprinkle the remaining salt all over the outside of the chicken. Refrigerate, covered, over night or for a couple of hours.
Preheat your oven to 450°. Place the chicken in a large baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine the root vegetables with the olive oil and some more rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper. If you’re worried about the beets bleeding onto the other vegetables, you can toss them in a separate bowl. Arrange the vegetables around the chicken (and throw a few into the cavity if you have extra veggies and not enough space, like I did!). Roast for about 20 minutes and then turn the oven down to 375°. The original recipe calls for about 50 more minutes of cooking time, but I left my chicken in for about 2 1/2 hours total as per my butcher’s instructions, making the skin crisp as can be and the vegetables tender and sticky with caramel. Ask your butcher for cooking time or use a thermometer to be sure (should register 165°).
Once the bird is ready, remove the baking dish from the oven. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and pour all of the pan juices into a pan. add the beer, one cup at a time (you may not need 2 cups, depending on how much pan juices you were able to get from your chicken), and boil until the sauce has reduced to a nice syrupy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.