The classic and deliciously earthy flavor of a simple Roasted Chicken with Autumn Vegetables pairs perfectly with this quiet, reflective season that encourages us to take the time to do some soul searching.
Autumn is the season which I await with bated breath.
For me, it is like no other time during the year, because it is full of fiery colors, spicy scents, warming concoctions, and an almost welcome brooding quality as we enter a time of dormancy which is ideal for quiet reflection and listening intently to that inner part of one’s self.
And as the physical world that has just been so very busy sprouting and shooting up all around us during the spring and summer months now seems to desire nothing more than to take a long, rejuvenating nap, this time of year gives opportunity for the human spirit to awaken and take inventory and stock of the growth that has occurred in the past months, and to ask the deeper question of “who am I now, in the autumn of this particular year?”
Beautiful autumn and all that it brings is the precious season that elicits such powerful desire for inner work to be done, as it is only in its quiet sleepiness—in its peace—that new life can begin to prepare to, once again, sprout up.
For me, the stillness of fall goes perfectly hand in hand with a strong, inner desire for change and growth the way that the flavors of its very bounty go hand in hand with that desire to satisfy a deep craving for something savory and scrumptious to be experienced on one’s palate.
For example, the earthy flavors of autumn’s sweet root vegetables roasted in the drippings of a simple and succulent rosemary-garlic roasted chicken; nestled atop of them, the simple, classic taste of the fall that comforts in an incredibly uncomplicated way, yet nourishes so completely and so deliciously.
And somehow these simple flavors taste so specifically divine because it is the fall in all of its glowing glory—it has its own unique taste.
It’s a blessing to have a season in life that gets a bit more still in order for the quieter, smaller voice within to be heard a little better.
It’s a gift to have a bit of time set apart that glows, that whirls, and that ignites, with its spark, that flame that resides in the center of each of us so that it may grow stronger and shed a better light on who we have been, who we are today, and ultimately who we long to become.
And it is the simple flavor of a reflective season, a flavor that is unique unto itself, that keeps our appetite for growth going strong.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Chicken with Autumn Vegetables
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4-6
• 1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken, giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry very well
• ¼ cup softened, unsalted butter
• 1 clove garlic, pressed thorough garlic press
• 1 teapsoon chopped, fresh rosemary leaves
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• Cracked black pepper
• Pinch paprika
• 4 sprigs rosemary
• ¼ bunch flat-leaf parsley
• 1 lemon, halved
• 8 small carrots (I like to use the “heirloom” carrots for extra color), roughly chopped into large pieces
• 2 ribs celery, chopped into large pieces
• 2 parsnips, chopped into large pieces
• 6 baby yellow potatoes (small ones)
• 1 fennel bulb (fronds removed), quartered, cored and sliced
• 1 small onion, peeled and quartered, then thickly sliced
• 1 head garlic, halved (paper left on)
• Olive oil
• 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
-Preheat your oven to 450°, and prepare a baking dish, baking sheet, or roasting pan (I like to line mine with a little parchment paper).
-Place the rinsed and dried chicken on a work surface; in a small bowl, add the softened butter, the pressed garlic clove, the chopped rosemary leaves and the lemon zest, and stir to combine well.
-Spread the butter mixture all over the chicken, then season the chicken liberally with about 1 tablespoon of salt, about 1-2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper, and the pinch of paprika; season the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper, as well.
-Stuff the rosemary sprigs, the parsley, and the two lemon halves inside of the cavity, and set the bird aside for a moment. (For a little more “put together” bird, I like to tuck the wing tips behind the back, and very simply tie together the legs with a little kitchen twine to hold things together while roasting.)
-Add the carrots, celery, parsnips, baby potatoes, fennel and onion to a medium-size bowl, and drizzle in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil; then, sprinkle with a few good pinches of salt and pepper, plus the Herbes de Provence, and toss to coat; spill the veggies out onto the prepared baking sheet or roasting pan, and nestle in the halved garlic head.
-Place the chicken on top of the veggies, breast-side up, and insert a digital thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (careful not to touch the bone); place into the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 400°, and roast for roughly 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temp reached 165°, and the juices run clear.
-Once roasted, allow the bird to rest for about 15 minutes; then carve and serve with the veggies on the side, and with some crusty bread, if desired. (White wine is delicious with this simple meal!)