Sunday, June 28, 2009

Roast Chicken and Sweeet Potatoes

I dread ordering chicken. Whether lounging on salad greens or snuggled between two slices of bread, the meat is usually dry and dense. (Sometimes I worry about choking.) Worst of all, it has as much taste as raw zucchini. Try as one might, the flavor of the chicken cannot be revived with thick goops of Mayonnaise or layers of processed cheese. Luckily, I grew up in an era when family meals often centered around roast chicken. The only thing lovelier than biting into the moist, rich flesh is inhaling the aroma that permeates the kitchen and beckons anyone in it's path to S -L-O -W down. As you'll see from the recipe below, it takes very little effort to create a satisfying and healthful chicken dinner.


Serves 4 to 6


- You can limit the seasonings in this recipe to salt and freshly ground pepper and produce a delicious bird. Adding thyme, parsley, rosemary and oregano will make the meat even more flavorful.
- It's most economical to grow your own herbs. I have an array in my community garden. Before I got a plot, I raised them in window boxes.
- I'm not one to advocate for buying a lot of kitchen gadgets, but I do recommend investing in a pepper mill. The bright, almost lemony flavor of freshly ground peppercorns really outshines pre-ground varieties.
- I opted to pair the chicken with sweet potatoes because I love the subtle molasses flavor they develop when roasted. They also provide a strong dose of the heart healthy antioxidant, beta-carotene.


1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken, preferably free range
Freshly ground pepper
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 large sweet potatoes, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh sage finely chopped (optional)


Preheat over to 425 degrees.

Rinse chicken and pat dry.

Place chicken in 9 by 13 inch roasting pan. Season cavity and outside with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and garlic. Gently lift chicken skin and spread herb paste against flesh.

Truss the chicken to ensure even cooking.

Arrange potatoes on a large cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sage. Drizzle on remaining olive oil.

Roast chicken for 1 hour or until thermometer reads 170 degrees when inserted in flesh. Roast potatoes until fork tender.

Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.