The fall vegetable crop is in, and what better way to showcase these beauties than to roast the vegetables to golden perfection alongside a juicy chicken.

Smaller chickens are getting harder to find in the supermarket, but I can often get small farm-raised birds at my farmers market.

Complete the meal with orzo pilaf and a salad of dark leafy greens.

CHICKEN ROASTED WITH ROOT VEGETABLES

Use this recipe as a guide, substituting cubed winter squash, sweet potato or almost any other sturdy vegetable for the roots. If your roasting pan doesn’t hold all the vegetables comfortably, cook some in a separate pan.

Makes 4 servings

One (3- to 4-pound) chicken

1 large lemon

1 onion, quartered

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 red-skinned potatoes cut in 1½-inch chunks

4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths

4 turnips, peeled and cut in 1½-inch chunks

5 garlic cloves, unpeeled

2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish

½ pound green beans, trimmed and blanched in boiling water until barely tender

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Gently pull up the breast skin of chicken. Cut half of the lemon into thin slices and carefully insert under the skin. Put onion and remaining half a lemon into the chicken cavity. Drizzle the chicken with 1 tablespoon oil and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.

Place the chicken in a large roasting pan and scatter potatoes, carrots, turnips and garlic around it. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of remaining oil, and sprinkle with the thyme.

Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Shake the pan to redistribute the vegetables. Brush the chicken with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, and return to the oven. Continue to roast, basting once or twice and shaking the pan or turning the vegetables, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken thigh, 40 to 50 more minutes.

Add green beans to the vegetable mix about 5 minutes before chicken is done.

Remove the chicken and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. Squeeze the garlic pulp and the juice from the lemon half over the vegetables and arrange them around the chicken. Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve.

HERBED ORZO PILAF

Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta that makes a wonderful pilaf. If you can’t find it, you can substitute another small pasta shape such as pastina – or even couscous – cooking it according to package directions.

Makes 4 servings

1 cup orzo (about 8 ounces)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped oregano or marjoram

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook orzo in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain into a sieve and return to the cooking pot.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and celery and cook over medium heat until slightly softened and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the pot with orzo. Add parsley, marjoram and cheese and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:

facebook.com/brookedojny


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