Serves 5 – 6
When choosing a roasting chicken, look for a plump, grain-fed and hormone-free bird. You’ll taste the difference, as these birds are hormone and roam-free moving about on a plastic perforated floor that allows the manure to fall through. The hens have 84 sq. inches to roam and will soon have 100 sq inches. This recipe shows how to roast the chicken on a bed of seasonal vegetables with the juices flavouring tender new potatoes to asparagus, carrots, parsnips, bell peppers or your choice.
1 1.5 kg free-range roasting chicken
2 tsp (10 ml) each ground cumin, oregano and coarse salt for the rub
2 tbsp (25 ml) butter, room temperature
700g baby new potatoes or large quartered new potatoes
1 garlic bulb, cloves separated, optional
600g new carrots, scrubbed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1½-inch (7 cm) squares
Bunch fresh asparagus in season, woody ends snapped off
Sprinkling of salt
Handful of fresh thyme sprigs if available
3 tbsp (45 mL) vegetable or olive oil
½ cup (125 mL) white wine
1/3 cup (75 ml) chopped fresh parsley for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Place chicken on a plate. Combine cumin, oregano and salt and rub the mixture all over the chicken. Lift the breast skin at the opening with your finger spread the butter in between the skin and breast meat.
2. Place potatoes in roasting pan with garlic cloves and other available vegetables. Sprinkle vegetables with salt and lay on thyme sprigs. Toss vegetables with oil. Place chicken on top of the vegetables. Roast for 1 hour then scatter the asparagus and wine and return pan to the oven to continue to roast another hour.
3. To test if chicken is cooked, gently press the meat along along side the backbone to check if it’s clear. If the juice is pink return the chicken to oven to cook another 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven to rest 20 – 30 minutes and keep warm with loose cover of foil. Remove the vegetables from the pan and place in serving bowl and carve the chicken.
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