The days are getting colder and darker, and more and more I find myself wanting to pull a hot meal from the oven. Over the past few weeks, our CSA veggie box has contained a lot of root vegetables and squash. When I came upon a local and affordable whole chicken at the market, I knew exactly what was for dinner.
I like to keep roast chicken simple. Cut up a lemon, peel a few cloves of garlic, grab the olive oil and S&P and you’re set. I stuff the cavity of the chicken with most of the lemon wedges and 3-4 cloves of garlic. Then I rub the chicken with a lemon wedge and grated garlic, finishing with a coating of olive oil and salt and pepper. I start the oven off at 450F, but reduce it to 350F as soon as the chicken goes in. A medium chicken takes about 1.5-2 hours to be juicy and cooked through, and if you keep an eye on it and keep spooning the juices over it, the skin will be perfectly crispy. The juices end up really garlicky and lemony, I didn’t make gravy, but I think if you did it would be tasty.
For the vegetables, I chopped up 2 carrots, 2 parsnips, 1 onion, 15 mini potatoes and a small squash. I have a new roasted veggie technique: you grate onion and garlic over them, toss them in lots of olive oil and S&P, and roast them for 45 minutes at 375F. The onion and garlic really gives flavour to the vegetables, and the mix of sweet from the squash and parsnips and the savoury from the rest is a nice combination.
This hearty fall dinner made my house smell delicious, and also made me feel a bit old fashioned. I wondered how many farm women would have cooked a meal like this 100 years ago during the harvest season. What was wholesome then is just as delicious today.