Sunday, June 28, 2009

Roast Chicken and Sweeet Potatoes

I dread ordering chicken. Too often, it arrives at the table dry and dense (whether lounging on salad greens or snuggled between two slices of bread. Worst yet, it has the flavor profile of raw zucchini. Try as one might, the flavor of the chicken cannot be revived with thick goops of mayonnaise or other forms of fat. Luckily, I grew up in an era when family meals often centered around roast chicken. The only thing lovelier than biting into the moist, rich flesh is inhaling the aroma that permeates the kitchen and beckons anyone in it's path to S -L-O -W down. As you'll see from the recipe below, it takes very little effort to create a satisfying and healthful chicken dinner. 


Serves 4 to 6

- You can limit the seasonings in this recipe to salt and freshly ground pepper and produce a delicious bird. Adding thyme, parsley, rosemary and oregano will make the meat even more flavorful.
- It's most economical to grow your own herbs. I have an array in my community garden. Before I got a plot, I raised them in window boxes.
- I'm not one to advocate for buying a lot of kitchen gadgets, but I do recommend investing in a pepper mill. The bright, almost lemony flavor of freshly ground peppercorns really outshines pre-ground varieties.
- I opted to pair the chicken with sweet potatoes because I love the subtle molasses flavor they develop when roasted. They also provide a strong dose of the heart healthy antioxidant, beta-carotene. 


1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken, preferably free range
Freshly ground pepper
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 large sweet potatoes, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh sage finely chopped (optional)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry.

Place the chicken in a 9 x 13 inch roasting pan. Season the cavity and outside with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and garlic. Gently lift the chicken skin and spread the herb paste over the flesh.

Truss the chicken to ensure even cooking.

Arrange the potatoes on a large cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sage. Drizzle on the remaining olive oil.

Roast the chicken for 1 hour or until the thermometer reads 170 degrees. Roast the potatoes until fork tender.

Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.

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