What’s for dinner? You know that this is one of the first questions every child asks his/her mom or dad immediately upon getting home from school. Or, it could be what you ask yourself after a long day at the office. For some of us, the evenings have a distinctive winter’s chill. And for those of us in a warmer climate, perhaps we long for comfort food regardless of the temperature outside. To all our vegetarian friends out there, please forgive this trespass into the world of chicken, but, thanks to “The Barefoot Contessa”, Ina Garten, we have found an easy, healthy and YUMMY roast chicken recipe sure to please, and you know what? The leftovers are just as yummy! Be sure you have a clean tongue before you eat, though, so you can savor every bite!
Chicken is the least expensive of all the white meat proteins and it can be prepared in many ways. It is rich in lean, low-fat protein, which contributes to muscle development, aids in weight control, is rich in phosphorus which contributes to tooth and bone health, and contains multiple other vitamins and minerals that are good for both your physical and mental health. OK, sold? Then here we go with this delicious recipe!
The Perfect Roast Chicken:
1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Remove chicken giblets (have a dog? You can boil these up and give them to your pup for a healthy treat) Rinse the chicken inside and out, remove excess fat and any pin feathers and pat the outside dry.
Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken.
Stuff cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of the lemon and all of the garlic.
Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, the 20 sprigs of thyme and some olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.
Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes to let the meat rest. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve with the vegetables.