Growing up I was a picky child, but like any kid, I was expected to eat anything that was put in front of me. I often didn’t care for whatever the meal was but I put on my big girl pants and ate it all up, thankful that we had food on our plates. One of the more memorable dislikes for me was holiday food. I hated turkey and ham. The staples of Thanksgiving and Christmas!! Year after year as long as I put 1 slab of something meaty on my plate, I was left alone to gorge on rolls, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole.
I don’t quite remember when the transition from hate to “I seem to enjoy this” happened but turkey grew on me. So much so that I would whine and wander grocery stores (yes as an adult) because I couldn’t find a turkey anywhere unless it was holiday season. Finally I gave up on that task since it seemed impossible and I don’t have a deep freeze in my tiny apartment to buy in bulk. And then, my grocery store started stocking fresh young whole chickens. *insert angelic music here*
Now that I had access to a large stock of chickens, I could start experimenting so that I could perfect a bird recipe. This recipe has all the staples: some citrus, some strong herbs, savory onions, and garlic. It’s so simple to throw together. I actually tried it out on a honker of a 20 pound turkey for Christmas and it was a hit! This recipe is simple, it’s hearty, it’s filling, and it’s even Whole30 approved! Put it together in one pan and roast away to perfection.
Prep Time: 25 mins // Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins // Makes 8 servings
Cook time Varies based on chicken (http://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/handling-meat/how-long-to-cook-chicken/)
- 1 Whole young Chicken (3.5-5lbs)
- 2 Lemons, 1 halved, the other zested then juiced (set these aside, they can be together)
- 1 Head of Garlic, top chopped off lengthwise
- 2 Med. White Onions, 1 quartered, 1 chopped large
- 4 Bell Peppers, varied color, chopped large
- 4 Red Potatoes, halved and then quartered (or smaller depending on size)
- 1 lb. fresh Green Beans (not pictured)
- 6 tbsp. Butter (Ghee if Whole30)
- 1 Bunch of fresh Thyme, 1 tsp. chopped
- Salt & Pepper to taste on chicken
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp each salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried thyme (or fresh if you have more)
- Get out your chicken, pull out giblets (boil these for gravy if you so desire, but this meal is without gravy). Rinse it out well and make sure all the feathers have been removed.
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Get out your roasting pan, spray it with some non-stick spray, and add rack to the bottom to help circulate the air and cook the bottom of the chicken. If you don’t have one, take about 4 ft of tin foil, roll it length wise and then roll it into a loose circle like a sleeping snake.
- Liberally salt and pepper the cavity of the chicken. Stuff it with the quartered onion, the 2 halves of lemon, the garlic head and the bunch of thyme. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings under the body. Set in the roasting pan.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter; add the lemon juice, lemon zest and the teaspoon of chopped thyme. Using a basting brush, cover the chicken with the butter mixture. Once it’s all covered, pour the remainder on top to get the color and flavor of the lemon zest on the skin.
- In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, onion, bell peppers, and green beans with the olive oil and 1 tsp each of the seasonings to your liking. Mix it up with your favorite herb combinations or add a little chili powder for some spice!
- Surround the chicken with the potato/veggie mixture.
- Roast based on cooking times per pound. After the first hour, there should be enough juices to baste every 15 to 30 minutes. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.
- Once it’s done, remove from the oven and let it rest, covered with foil, for 15 minutes to let the juices redistribute. Carve away at your beautiful bird with roasted goodies underneath!