Roast Chicken with Winter Veggies

This is a heartier version of the Chicken & Veggies dish that I make a lot in the summer. I started trying these monster roasting chickens from Perdue about a month ago, and am sold on them as a great way to make a lot of meals with very little effort. These 7 – 9 pound birds make a big dinner for the 2 of us, a couple of lunches for me, and still leaves me with 2 pounds of white meat for salads or soups.

The Bird
1 7-9 pound roasting chicken (grill once, eat twice)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried lavender
1 teaspoon dried tarragon or parsley
4 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Make the herb rub (kind of a gremolata if you want to get fancy) by putting the garlic and salt in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the thyme, rosemary, lavender, tarragon, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper and give them a whirl until they are well-combined. Add more oil as needed to make a thin paste.

Clean and rinse the chicken, then pat dry. You can roast the bird whole, but I like to spatchcock (butterfly) the chicken for this dish so that it cooks more evenly and covers the veggies better.

To spatchcock the bird, set it in front of you, breast side down. Cut up through the backbone with either a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife. Spread the bird open like a book and locate the keel bone that sits between the breasts. Nick it with a knife to get it to open up, but don’t cut all the way through. Flip the bird over and press down on the center of the bird until it lies flat.

Rub both sides of the bird with the herb rub, working it under the skin a bit. Set the bird skin side up on a pan (I use a large jellyroll pan) and put it in the fridge, uncovered, for at least an hour. This not only lets the rub do its thing, but also helps dry out the skin a bit so it stays crispy.

Set your grill up for an indirect cook at medium-high (350°F) heat. While the grill is getting up to temp, put the veggies together.

The Veggies
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 fresh ground back pepper

Toss the veggies together in a flame-proof roasting pan (I use the bottom of a tagine, but an old 9×13 pan cake pan is good too). Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

The Cook
Set the pan full of veggies on the grill. Place the grill grate on top of the pan and lay the chicken, skin side down, on the grate above the veggies. This way all the chickeny goodness will drip into the veggies as they cook and the steam from the veggies will help keep the chicken moist.

Close the lid and cook the chicken and veggies for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken and check to see if the veggies are done. If not, give them a stir and return the chicken, skin side up this time.

After another 30 minutes, start checking to see if everything is done. The chicken is done when the juices run clear and the the temperature has reached 160°F in the breast and 180°F in the thigh. Pull the veggies early if they finish before the chicken. This was an 8-pound bird, so it took it another hour on the grill to finish after I removed the veggies.

Remove the bird from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the veggies from the pan to a serving bowl. Quarter the bird for serving.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Another great roast chicken – juicy and tender with some great flavor from the smoke and the rub. Letting the skin dry out a bit kept it crisp nice and crisp. The cauliflower was just about to fall apart and the carrots and rutabaga were wonderfully sweet and tender.

The Nutrition: Use a slotted spoon to drain the olive oil and chickeny goodness off the veggies and you’ve got 4 big servings of free veggies with about 2 points worth of oil per serving. The chicken is 1 Weight Watcher’s Point per ounce of skinless white meat and 2 points per ounce for skinless dark meat. We actually found this to recipe to be a little light on fat overall because the chicken was so lean.




2 thoughts on “Roast Chicken with Winter Veggies”

  1. Really nice top photo. This really sounds wonderful. I’m in week three of using up things from freezer/fridge/pantry in order to purge the insanity food purchases from Nov – Jan. I’ll be giving this a try once I’m off probation. I’ll have to ask my butcher about those big chickens. Also wanted to let you know I made Anatto oil. I’ve been using it like crazy. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. You ought to call those “hernia chickens” ha ha.
    Nice looking birds, always tasty roasted on the grill and the rack over the veggies makes for scrumptious eats.

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