Just in case the picture-perfect instagram feeds and fancy restaurants have you fooled, let me assure ya'll that eating like a farmer is not exactly glamorous. Eating like a farmer starts with taking stock of the ingredients you have at hand - perhaps some funky potatoes, a few misshapen carrots, a rogue beet or two, half a bunch of fresh herbs, and hopefully a nice juicy lemon. Eating like a farmer means gaining an understanding of how certain vegetables, fruits, and proteins like to be prepared, and using your imagination + hard-earned kitchen instincts to whip up vibrant, nourishing dishes.
Case in point. This "no-recipe" recipe is one of my favorites to teach in cooking classes, because it's more of a basic technique, and it makes succulent, crispy-skinned chicken and irresistible glazed vegetables all in one baking tray. The secret is filling a large baking tray with whatever vegetables you have on hand and roasting the whole chicken on top, which means the veggies catch all those fabulous juices and take on a whole new depth of flavor.
WHOLE ROAST CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE MEDLEY
Serves: 6-8 people
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes, chopped in 1/2" dice
- 1 lb carrots, chopped in 1/2" dice
- 1 red onion, chopped in 1/2" dice
- 3-4 beet roots, chopped in 1/2" dice
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- One 3.5-4 lb whole chicken
- Optional spices: cumin, coriander, paprika, garam masala, etc
- 1 lemon, cut into quarters
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Chop the vegetables (use whatever you have on hand - this recipe is just a suggestion) into a roughly 1/2" dice, and spread the veggies in a single layer on a large rimmed baking tray.
- Toss vegetables with a few good glugs of olive oil, and a hefty pinch of kosher salt and pepper.
- For the ultimate crispy skin, pat the chicken with a paper towel until the skin is very dry. Season the chicken inside and out liberally with salt, pepper, and (optional) spices. I personally love chicken spiced with cumin, paprika, and a pinch of cinnamon.
- Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, breast side up, in the baking tray. Take a few of the lemon quarters and squeeze them over the chicken and veggies. Take the remaining lemon quarters and stuff them inside the chicken cavity.
- Grab your olive oil and pour a few glugs of oil all over the chicken. At this point I usually season the outside of the chicken with a bit more salt and pepper.
- Put the tray in the hot oven and roast until the vegetables are tender, the chicken is golden brown, and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a fork, 75 to 90 minutes. Halfway through baking, turn the tray and stir the vegetables to ensure even roasting. If you use an instant-read thermometer, it should register 165°F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh. Remove the chicken from the tray and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. Give the vegetables a good stir in those lovely juices, taste and adjust seasoning/add salt as needed, then transfer to a serving tray and keep warm while the chicken cools.