I feel like we’re all looking for easy one-pot meals, right? Especially this time of year. We’re all busy, we probably all would rather not go the take-out route, and definitely want to feed our families something good and good for them…
So I’d like to present to you what we had for dinner the other night on a particularly busy day, when I didn’t have anything prepped (highly unusual for me). I needed something easy and stress-free. Something I could do a few things to and then toss in the oven and have it do the rest. I picked up my daughter from preschool and headed to Whole Foods for lunch, then grabbed a chicken from the meat department, knowing I had enough at home to throw in the pan with it.
Some parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples and onions later… we had dinner. And it was easy perfection.
A little bit of prep work while my daughter painted a pumpkin, then the oven took care of the rest while and the kids and I played in the yard.
Can’t beat that.
ORANGE – FENNEL CHICKEN ‘N VEG
Prep and season your bird…
Start with a 3-4 lb. chicken (free range, local and/or organic really is best and I swear it makes the hugest taste difference. I don’t usually buy mine from Whole Foods, which was fairly pricey, but I do from a local source and it’s cheaper than the conventional grocery store birds!)
Place it in the largest, high sided roasting pan you have and make your seasoning blend in a small bowl…
2 TB kosher salt
1 (heaping) tsp fennel seeds, ground
zest of 1 orange, reserve the fruit for stuffing the bird
roughly 1/8 tsp allspice, or good pinch
1 tsp dried sage
Mix well and rub all over the outside, inside the cavity and under the skin of the bird wherever you can.
(*This can be done hours in advance, even that morning or the night before and stored uncovered in the fridge… the longer it sits in the seasoning, the stronger the flavor will be. And allowing it to chill uncovered allows the skin to dry for a crispier skin when roasting.)
When you’re ready to cook, (allow the chicken to come up to room temp for 20-30 min if you seasoned it ahead of time), slice that orange into quarters and squeeze the juice all over the bird and the veggies, then stuff the orange pieces into the cavity of the bird, along with 1 large rosemary sprig, broken in half to fit inside.
Place the following veg in the pan around the seasoned chicken…
4 large parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large onion, peeled, sliced in half and each half quartered with the root end still attached
1 large apple (I prefer a honeycrisp, gala or fuji)
2 small sweet potatoes OR 1 large, cut into large chunks
(*Note that if your pan is much larger than mine, feel free to add more of the above veggies if you think you’ll need more, but you absolutely have to have a single layer or the veggies will not caramelize. And if you want to double this with another chicken & veg in another pan, do it!)
Drizzle the veg with a bit of olive or canola/veg oil and sprinkle with a tiny bit of kosher salt. Go light on the salt (and the oil), as the chicken seasoning will end up seasoning the veggies while they all cook… and the chicken will render its fat to coat them.
Roast in a preheated 500 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat down to 375 (without opening the oven) and continue roasting for another hour to hour and a half, or until the chicken juices run clear if you poke it at the leg joint and the veggies are golden brown.
Stir. Drizzle the veggies with balsamic vinegar and honey. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Allow everything to rest about 15 minutes before slicing into the chicken.
Serve warm and to a happy family 😉