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Author Notes: The nights are releasing their grip of their clenching fists of daytime warm air. Visually, there's not much evidence of fall in Texas. The long dry summer sucked the moisture out of the limbs and leaves of even the heartiest of flora. There was a lack of lush flowers and bushes since the middle of spring. Bluebonnets suffered a short growing season and I have no fields of blue dotting my recent collection of digital photographs. The land remains stagnant, waiting for water to return.
This subtle change in the night air is like a whisper from the far north, the snow capped mountains sleeping through the summer. Winter and hopefully rain will be here soon.
This recipe is a reflection of the end-of-season vegetables available and how to bring them together for a family dinner table. —midnitechef
4 to 5
pounds whole chicken
sprigs fresh rosemary
2 to 3
salt & pepper
red bell peppers
tomatoes (or a pint of cherry tomatoes)
teaspoon oregano (or a blend of Italian herbs)
- Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF. Start by preparing the vegetables and arranging them on a baking sheet. Slice the vegetables in half lengthwise, remove the seeds from the peppers. Give them a rub with olive oil then sprinkle salt, pepper and oregano. Set this aside.
- Prepare the chicken by removing the gibblets and washing the bird inside and out. Using paper towel, pat the skin dry. The drier the skin the crispier it will be.
- Zest the lemons and combine the lemon zest with the butter. Add a good teaspoon of salt and pepper. Remove some rosemary leaves from the sprigs, about a tablespoon, and combine with the butter. Reserve another tablespoon of rosemary for the garnish.
- Cut the lemons in half. Salt and pepper the inside cavity of the chicken. Place the lemon and whole sprigs of rosemary in the cavity.
- Divide the lemon butter into two portions. Gently tuck half of the butter between each breast and the skin, smooth it out along the top of the breasts. If the skin is loose at the drumsticks, try to get some of the butter into that pocket.
- Using additional butter or olive oil, rub the outside of the skin. Salt and pepper generously.
- Roast the chicken in a deep roasting pan, which either has a lid or foil tent to cover the chicken. Put the chicken in the oven and set a timer for 45 minutes.
- At the 45 minute mark, turn down the oven to 350ºF and put the baking tray of vegetables in the oven. Let the vegetables caramelize (don't turn them) while the chicken is uncovered to brown beautifully.
- Arrange the chicken on a platter surrounded by the vegetables. Sprinkle the reserved rosemary over the chicken as a garnish.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Holiday Roast