Thursday, June 21, 2012

Weeknight Roast Chicken with Vegetables

Roasted chicken breasts with vegetables. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

It was a classic 70s Mom moment: I pored through my cookbooks asking myself, "what can I do with chicken tonight?" Of course, the 70s mom would have have worried about ground beef, but I had a 1-pound package of bone-in chicken breasts about a day past its expiration and due for a date with either the freezer or the oven.

In winter, I prefer bone-in poultry because I love to braise - making a hearty pot of chicken and dumplings that can simmer in the oven for most of the day, the chicken releasing its juices into a savory broth. In the summer, however, I avoid these kind of kitchen-warming projects. But my husband found some chicken breasts on sale at the market and I needed a quick and easy supper idea.

Roast chicken and vegetables. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

I guess most folks would coat the breasts in barbecue sauce and grill them, but given the stormy weather, an indoor recipe would need to be found. I checked through two favorite cookbooks, a cherished ring-bound Pillsbury Cookbook, missing its covers, but still holding its own as a home cooking go-to resource; and my favorite cookbook, Big Orange, the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, revised edition. My search this time yielded a Roast Chicken with Vegetables in ATK that used bone-in chicken breasts and required just one pan.

Potatoes, carrots, celery & onions coated with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

I cut up two carrots, six red potatoes and two onions, mixed them with a double glug of olive oil and a couple sprigs of fresh thyme from the garden, spread them in a pan and baked them for 15 minutes in a hot, 450 degree oven. The chicken breasts were placed over the vegetables, brushed with a few tablespoons of melted butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. Both chicken and vegetables returned to the oven for about 30 minutes (this was convection, allow longer for conventional). When I opened the oven door, the aromatic chicken was a sight to behold - skin the color of aged cherrywood and juicy, tender flesh. The potatoes cooked in melted butter, olive oil and melted chicken fat were a guilty pleasure.

Ready for the oven. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Roasted Chicken Breasts and Vegetables

6 to 8 medium red potatoes, peeled and quartered 

4 carrots, peeled and sliced into 2-inch lengths

2 medium onions, peeled and quartered

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 bone-in chicken breasts

2 tablespoons melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 450. Toss vegetables and thyme with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread
 on baking sheet covered in heavy duty foil. Roast for 15 minutes.
 Remove from oven and stir vegetables.

2. Place chicken breasts on top of vegetables. 
Brush with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
Return to oven for 30 minutes. Near the end of cooking time, check for doneness by piercing
the chicken breasts with a knife or fork and looking for juices to run clear. You're looking
for 165 on a meat thermometer, too. Remove tray from the oven and serve chicken with


Maggie Hewes Adams said...

Looks just perfect. And easy too. I think I'll join you some night this week.

the wild magnolia said...

this will be delicious. thank you.

Etel said...

Thanks for writing up this recipe! With a number of small modifications, I made the dish with a friend and it turned out delicious. Mostly, we changed the vegetables: we made the chicken with sweet potatoes, baby carrots, and brussel sprouts, and garlic.

I've been trying to learn how to cook and the recipe came out really well. Thanks for your write up!