Whole Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables and Turnip Greens

Roast chicken is one of my favorite meals… something about the smell wafting through the house while it cooks, the crispy skin, and those pan drippings! It’s pure comfort. The recipe for the chicken is a staple in my family, although I added my own spin for early Spring to make it a complete meal. Radishes and young May turnips are roasted underneath the chicken and come out tender and glazed in pan drippings. The greens from the tops of the turnips (and radishes, if you’ve got ’em) mimic the sharp flavor of mustard greens and pair wonderfully with the rich drippings. They also offer a fresh compliment to the roasted chicken and root vegetables. I love to dunk pieces of seeded semolina bread or baguette in the sauce. It’s lemony, rich, just the right amount of salt, and it’s literally perfect.

Roasting a chicken can be daunting, and I totally get it. I provided a tutorial in my Instagram stories if you want video to go along with this recipe, but the instructions also explain it. A quick note for the raw meat haters of the world at the risk of getting on my soap box- we’ve got to stop condemning raw meat while ignoring the process that goes into turning a chicken into an edible dish. It is our job as responsible animal consumers to honor the animal, use as many parts as possible, and get comfortable with the raw state of our food. If you’re still grossed, try using gloves while handling the meat to ease yourself into the idea!

I call for butter in this recipe, but any fat will work. Olive oil, avocado oil, ghee, etc. are all great options. Although nothing will replace my love for butter. Additionally, I use radishes and young white turnips. White turnips, or May turnips, arrive in early spring and they’re sweeter and milder in flavor than winter turnips. If you can’t find turnips, carrots or potatoes are a great substitute, although I wouldn’t skip on the radishes. Whatever vegetable you use, try to find one with greens attached. Turnip greens, radish greens, arugula, carrot tops, even spinach would be excellent. The point of the greens are to offer a fresh component paired with the rich root vegetables and chicken.

The pan sauce that is left after roasting the chicken is more of a thin jus. If you’re looking for a thicker gravy, one can easily be achieved by removing the chicken and vegetables and cooking the juices in the roasting pan on the stove with a tablespoon of flour. Whisk the flour in and simmer until thickened.

I hope you enjoy this comforting dish. It’s simple, uses fresh ingredients, and is a true crowd-pleaser. If you give this recipe a try, don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!

Ingredients

4lb roasting chicken, whole, with giblets removed

3 TBSP butter, melted and divided

1 bunch radishes, halved

1 bunch may turnips with greens attached, quartered, or cut to same size as halved radishes, and greens cut off and set to the side

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 lemon, quartered and seeds removed

Seeded semolina loaf, or baguette, sliced for dipping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place radishes and turnips (without greens) in the bottom of a cast iron pan just large enough to fit the chicken and vegetables. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the melted butter over top of the vegetables and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Prep chicken. Remove giblets and pat dry with paper towels. Spoon or brush 2 tablespoons of the melted butter over the sides and season liberally with salt and pepper. Using a piece of kitchen twine, pull legs inward and upward towards the center of the chicken and tie to truss.
  4. Stuff chicken with lemon quarters and fresh herbs. Place chicken in the pan and move vegetables around so they’re in an even layer surrounding the chicken.
  5. Roast for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, checking at the hour mark with a meat thermometer. The chicken should register 155-160 degrees at the deepest part. When finished, cover lightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
  6. For the greens, remove root vegetables and chicken to a serving platter or cutting board. Toss greens in the warm pan dripping until just coated. The greens may wilt slightly.
  7. Serve immediately alongside fresh bread for sopping up the pan drippings.

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