Roast chicken is perhaps the most classic dish of all, however, perfectly cooking it can be a bit tricky especially when you stuff it with vegetables. The secret? A pre-heated skillet!
I again drew some inspiration for this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, but more or less combined two of their recipes.
It’s so easy to get over cooked dry chicken in the oven, so it’s very important to brine it before cooking, that way it stays nice and juicy. Another problem is that sometimes when you cook with vegetables, it tends to get too greasy from all the fat that melts off the chicken. To solve this problem, I simply loosened up all the skin and removed the excess flaps of skin around the neck and tail end of the bird. I also removed as much fat as I could from the bird; however, I did not remove the skin except for the excess or else it will dry out your chicken.
For the vegetables, I originally stuffed them inside the bird and what I couldn’t fit, I put inside the skillet instead. I found that the vegetables on outside of the bird actually cooked down, so I would highly recommend to not stuff the bird with the vegetables, but simply let them rest inside the skillet.
Speaking of the skillet, this is the most important part. Pre-heating the skillet in the oven and then putting the chicken dark meat side down onto it, will ensure that the dark meat and the white meat will cook through at the same time. No flipping needed! Basically, since the skillet is already hot, it immediately begins to cook the back of the bird before the breast even heats up. You can use any oven safe skillet, I highly recommend a cast-iron as it heats more evenly.
The I stuffed all sorts of vegetables into my chicken (although they didn’t cook very well) but found that some cooked while others didn’t. Please, don’t try to roast jicama with your chicken, it takes way too long to cook even outside of baking. Also, make sure your carrots are near the bottom of the pan so that they actually cook! Also, NEVER EVER EVER place the chicken on top of the vegetables. It will never cook that way.
Nevertheless, this was a very fun recipe to make since it was basically the first time I had ever whole roasted a chicken before, and it came out absolutely perfect! The inside of the breast meat was so tender and juicy! It was better than that great rotisserie chicken you buy at Costco and so much easier to make at home. I kept sneaking bites, as i waited for dinner because it was just too good! It was also a great relief from that never ending pot roast I had made for a family gathering. About 4-5 days worth of beef was left over…. I’m so sick of beef.
I hope you enjoy this with your family as much as I did with mine!
Whole roasted chicken stuffed with vegetables
- 1 whole chicken, 3-5 lbs.
- 1-2 quarts water
- 1/3 cup salt
- tbsp. salt
- 1 carrot chopped into thin coins
- 2 Mexican squash, chopped into thin coins
- 2-3 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
- 1/2 1 onion, diced
- any other non-root vegetables you might like
- Combine salt, water and sugar in a bowl and lace the chicken making sure it’s completely submerged in the liquid. Brine for at least 1 hour to overnight
- Pre-heat an oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and heat a skillet in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Take out the chicken and pat dry, tie drumstick together and tuck wings behind the back. You can rub a little bit of olive oil on the breast if you want crisp skin.
- Remove the skillet once it finishes heating then add in about a tsp. of oil and immediately place the chicken into the hot skillet, breast-side up. The back of the chicken should be on the skillet. Then add in the vegetables and roast for about 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. 3-4 lb. chicken usually takes about 30-35 minutes while bigger chickens can take up to 45 minutes.
- Check with an instant read thermometer (if you have one) so that the chicken breast reads 165 degrees and the dark meat 175 degrees. Then it’s done!
Try to avoid opening the oven until the end as this will prevent any heat loss which will further slow down the cooking time. Don’t forget to keep all that gravy! You can even keep the bones when you are done, boil them and get a great chicken broth!