Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

To continue my “Week in the [Project] Life” series for Project Life 365, today’s prompt is #dinner.  For background on this project, please read my previous #breakfast post and #lunch post. You can find me on Instagram @lauravein and Project Life 365 at @projectlife365.

#dinner: Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken with potatoes, carrots, parsnips & onion 

Every so often, I just need to roast a chicken.  I need the therapy of chopping the veggies & slathering the bird with thyme butter... the intoxicating aroma as everything roasts & the vegetables caramelize... the comfort of eating something so simple, yet so spectacular.... the assurance of the leftovers providing future meals with minimal effort.  We all have days where we just need a “win” to counteract bad things that have happened (or good things than haven’t happened). Roasting a chicken is always a win. 

Roasting a chicken is also easy.  The prep always takes a bit longer than I anticipate, but the end results are completely worth it. Whether you make the meal for just yourself or serve it at a dinner party, it never fails to impress.

But do you want to know my favorite part? It’s the vegetables underneath the chicken.  Sure, you could cut up some potatoes, carrots, parsnips (optional), and onions, throw in a few garlic cloves & roast them all together in the oven. But they won’t taste nearly the same.

There is something almost magical about the chicken juices mingling with the veggies as they cook together and caramelize.  Trust me, fit absolutely as much veggies as possible underneath the chicken!   There will never be too many leftover roasted vegetables.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a newbie, make sure that roast chicken is part of your repertoire. And don’t forget to save the carcass for chicken stock!  No one should be without a great go-to roast chicken recipe.  Below is my go-to recipe. Check back tomorrow for my #dessert post!

Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken w/ potatoes, carrots, parsnips, & onion (Gluten Free) 
adapted from Ina Garten recipes found here and here  
makes approximately 6 servings, depending on chicken size

I’m to the point now where I don’t necessarily use a recipe when I fix a roast chicken, but I did manage to record amounts on my most recent experience.  

For the Veggies: 
1 large yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges (mine was approximately 14 oz) 
11 small/medium carrots, peeled & cut into 2” chunks (mine weighed about 12.65 oz)
24 oz Yukon Gold Potatoes, unpeeled, cut into pieces
3 small Parsnips (mine weighed about 3.5 oz) 
6 garlic cloves, peeled 
nonstick spray
5 Tbl olive Oil (approximately 2 oz) 
1 roasting chicken (5 to 6 lbs)
1 Tbl Kosher Salt
3/4 tsp Black Pepper
For the chicken: 
1 medium chicken, giblets & neck removed (mine was about 4.7 lbs)
Kosher Salt
Black pepper
1 head Garlic, halved 
1 lemon, halved
1 bunch fresh Thyme
2 Tbl Butter, softened
1 bunch Thyme 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. (and make sure your oven is clean first! Or the high temps may cause it to smoke).
  2.  Remove the chicken from the refrigerator & allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes while preparing the vegetables. 
  3. Spray a large roasting dish liberally with nonstick cooking spray.  Peel & cut the onion into wedges. Peel & cut the carrots & parsnips into 2” pieces. Cut the potatoes. Peel the garlic cloves. 
  4. Place the veggies into the roasting dish.  Drizzle with liberally olive oil, salt & pepper & toss to coat. Set aside.
  5. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels. Set on top of the prepared vegetables. Salt & pepper the cavity of the chicken & stuff with the halved head of garlic & lemon, plus a few springs of thyme.
  6. Mix the softened butter with some thyme leaves & some kosher salt.    
  7. Spread the butter all over the surface of the chicken & underneath the skin on the breast. Carefully slice a couple sprigs of thyme underneath the skin. Liberally salt and pepper the outside chicken. Optional: tie together the legs with kitchen twine. Add additional thyme springs on the veggies.  
  8. Place the pan into the oven and roast, uncovered for approximately 1.5 hours, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. Check the temperature of the thigh area, not the breast, but make sure the thermometer does not hit the bone.  
  9. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the oven & transfer the chicken to a separate plate. Cover with foil. 
  10. Stir the remaining vegetables & return the pan to the oven. Allow the vegetables to roast an additional 30 to 45 minutes, or until they are nicely browned.  
  11. After the chicken has rested & the veggies are done roasting, carve the chicken & serve with the vegetables.  Drizzle juices over both. 
  12. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator or freeze for longetivty.  Freeze the chicken carcass for making homemade chicken stock.

Baking Dish: Le Creuset
Plates: Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles Pink
Silverware: Hampstead from Williams Sonoma 
Napkins: Williams Sonoma (no longer available) 


  1. These sound delicious and very manageable- my favorite kind of recipe! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. You're welcome! Hope you can try the recipe soon :)