Perfectly Simple Roast Chicken and Vegetables with Lemon Rosemary Sauce

February 23, 2010

Author Notes: I've tried brining a la Zuni; I've tried slathering with butter. But my favorite roast chicken is this one: inspired by Thomas Keller. I like it because it is simple and delicious, exactly as roast chicken should be. Course sea salt is fine, of course, but I made a citrus salt (thank you Eric Gower for this fantastic idea) by mixing 1/2 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest and 1 tablespoon course salt (I didn't use all of it up though; that would be a lot of salt). I love what it adds to this dish. I like to cook this in a cast-iron skillet on top of chopped fingerling potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions and garlic that have been drizzled with olive oil. The vegetables come out so flavorful and you can bring everything to the table in the skillet for serving- easy. If you want to make this a little fancier, you can make the lemon rosemary sauce as directed below...I don't think it's necessary, but it's up to you!WinnieAb

Serves: 2-4


The chicken

  • 1 whole chicken (approx. 3 pounds), preferably organic and free-range
  • course sea salt or citrus salt (2 parts salt mixed with 1 part lemon zest; I used Meyer lemon)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 lemon, preferably a Meyer lemon, sliced in half
  • 1 1/2 pounds scrubbed and chopped potatoes (I like the small ones: fingerlings or red potatoes)
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed and chopped
  • 2 large parsnips, scrubbed and chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • course sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Lemon Rosemary Sauce

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • leaves from 2 springs fresh rosemary
  • juice of 1/2 lemon, preferably a Meyer lemon
In This Recipe


The chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove giblets from chicken and rinse very well inside and out. Pat completely dry (very important- Keller cautions against creating any steam here). Sprinkle both sides of the chicken liberally with the plain or citrus salt and the black pepper. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the rosemary and the sliced lemon. Truss the chicken if you so desire (Keller recommends it, but I do not usually bother).
  2. Fill your cast-iron skillet (or small roasting pan) with the vegetables and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables breast side down. Roast for 30 minutes.
  4. Turn the chicken over and sprinkle again with (citrus) salt and pepper. Roast for another 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, until it is nicely browned all over and cooked through.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and allow 15 minutes or so for the chicken to cool before "digging in". If you are not making the sauce, you can bring the skillet right to the table and serve. Feel free to sprinkle the chicken with a little more citrus salt, if you like.

Lemon Rosemary Sauce

  1. Remove the chicken and vegetables along with most of the liquid/fat from the skillet or roasting pan and place in a serving dish. Place the skillet or pan on top of the stove.
  2. Turn the heat to high and add the white wine. Using a whisk or spatula, stir/scrape up the "brown bits" and incorporate them into the wine. Add the stock, rosemary and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat until the sauce has reduced to about half. Strain into a small saucepan and spoon over the chicken.

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