You’ve heard it before. Roast chicken truly is one of the easiest main courses to cook and the most versatile. You can dress it up or down.
Armed with just two basic ingredients, chicken and salt, I’ve cooked birds in ovens big and small, decrepit and new.
Chicken roasted so plainly tastes fantastic, but for variety, I add herbs and spices. Lately, my fascination with everything bagel seasoning mix — that blend that mimics the tasty bits atop the popular bagel — has inspired a coating for chicken and vegetables. A bit of smoked paprika, dried basil and oregano adds color and flavor.
After the chicken is in the oven, I prepare vegetables to roast alongside. In the recipe that follows, I add small new potatoes to the chicken pan part way through the cooking. That way they can roll around and absorb the flavorful pan juices.
A sheet pan or two of eggplant, zucchini, peppers and onions makes a great accompaniment. I make enough for leftovers for another dinner or to serve with eggs for brunch. Season the vegetables with the same blend of spices as you used for the chicken.
The pan juices from the chicken taste amazing. Spoon the mixture over the carved chicken for a rich, but simple topping.
All the leftovers, from chicken to vegetables to pan juices, can make another meal — added to a bowl of hot, cooked egg noodles (or rice).
Before we had kids, I roasted chickens in an ancient gas range in our city apartment during renovations. After a day of hanging drywall and grouting tile, we created a makeshift table from wooden sawhorses and a plank of paneling. There, we enjoyed our bird, with a green salad and crusty bread.
Whole chicken also was the first dish we cooked after moving into our suburban family home. Our kitchen yielded countless chicken dinners with extended family, friends, and recently, our first grandchild.
When we moved from that home of 20 years I roasted a chicken in our sleek, much-beloved Wolf range as our last meal there. We couldn’t gather the family, but comfort ensued.
My roasting pans now rest in their cabinet at our new townhome. For our first roast chicken dinner I opened the windows to let the aromas escape so our new neighbors would get a true sense of our style.
ALL ABOUT EVERYTHING
Imagine an everything bagel stripped of the bagel, leaving the dried garlic, sesame seeds and other tasty bits from on top — that’s everything bagel seasoning.
Find it in the spice aisle of many supermarkets or order online (the popular Trader Joe’s brand is sold on Amazon).
Or make it yourself:
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon minced dried garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced dried onion
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (or more regular sesame seeds)
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Combine ingredients in a jar with a tight- fitting lid. Shake well. Keeps almost forever.
FOR THIS recipe, check chicken cavities to be sure they are empty. If the bird comes with the neck and gizzards, set them in a deep saucepan of water and simmer an hour or so to make a light broth for another use. Sear the liver in a small skillet with a little oil and butter and serve on a piece of toast for a cook’s treat.
EVERYTHING ROAST CHICKEN WITH NEW POTATOES
- 1 whole chicken, about 5 pounds
- 3 tablespoons everything bagel seasoning mix
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds petite red or small gold potatoes (about 1-1/2 inches in diameter)
- 1 handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, or minced chives or a combination, for garnish
Heat oven to 375 degrees on convection or 400 degrees conventional. Pat chicken dry. Tuck wings behind back. Place back side up in a large roasting pan.
Put seasoning mix, paprika, basil and oregano into a small bowl. Sprinkle chicken generously with one-third of seasoning mixture. Turn chicken breast side up and sprinkle with another one-third of seasoning. Drizzle chicken with olive oil. Roast chicken 25 minutes.
Add potatoes to pan and roll them around in pan juices. Sprinkle potatoes with remaining seasoning mixture. Continue roasting, stirring potatoes every 20 minutes or so, until potatoes are tender, chicken is golden and juices run clear when thigh is pierced, about 50 minutes more.
Gently transfer potatoes to serving bowl. Put chicken on a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest about 10 minutes. Scrape pan juices into a bowl.
Carve chicken into serving portions. Serve with a drizzle of pan juices and some potatoes. Sprinkle with chopped herbs. Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 652 calories, 34 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 158 mg cholesterol, 19 g carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 51 g protein, 640 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
EVERYTHING SHEET PAN VEGGIES
- 1-1/2 tablespoons everything bagel seasoning mix
- 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to grease pan
- 1 eggplant, about 1 pound, ends trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 large or 2 medium sweet onions, halved, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 3 or 4 small zucchini, ends trimmed
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, dill, chives, for garnish
Heat oven to 375 degrees on convection or 400 degrees conventional. Put seasoning mix, paprika, basil and oregano into a small bowl.
Grease a sheet pan with oil. Place eggplant on sheet pan. Add half of the onion. Sprinkle with half the seasoning mix and half the oil. Toss to coat well.
Slice zucchini into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Put onto a second sheet pan. Add remaining onion and bell pepper pieces. Sprinkle with remaining seasoning mix and oil.
Roast vegetables, stirring every 10 minutes and rotating pans if your oven doesn’t brown evenly, until fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven; combine contents of both pans in serving bowl. Sprinkle with herbs. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 111 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 8 g carbohydrates, 4 g sugar, 1 g protein, 244 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.
FOR THIS one, use leftovers from the previous two recipes to assemble this quick meal.
NOODLES WITH EVERYTHING BAGEL CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES
1 bag (12 ounces) wide egg noodles
2 or 3 cups everything bagel roasted vegetables
2 or 3 cups shredded everything bagel roasted chicken, skin removed
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil OR 1/4 cup pan juices from roasted chicken
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh chives or green onion tops
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add noodles and cook until al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain well. Return to pot.
Stir in vegetables and shredded chicken. Warm gently over low heat while tossing with oil or pan juices. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with chives. Serves 4 to 6.