Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Sweet Potatoes…

Chicken is the most versatile meat.  Julia Child once said that you could eat chicken everyday of the year and never have it the same way twice.  This time, I went with a whole roast because it’s easy and you can never go wrong with it.

So why do you stuff the cavity of the chicken when roasting? Stuffing it with items like onions, lemons, carrots, celery, oranges, etc causes the meat to be moister from the evaporation out of the fruits or vegetables.  It also imparts a flavor and aroma to the meat.  However, the food you stuffed in there doesn’t taste quite as good as if it were roasted out of the chicken.  Some people throw out the cavity foods, I don’t.  It’s your preference.

I stuffed this one with carrots, onions, lemons, and rosemary.  Onions are a common choice because they’re mostly water.  Carrots lend sweetness.  Lemons lend tartness.  Rosemary gives it a great aroma.  But it’s also important to close the chicken’s …well…butt in order to keep the moisture in the bird otherwise it’ll escape and it was all for nothing.

The carrots and onions out of the cavity will caramelize in the oven and yet be moist because of the chicken drippings flowing onto it.  You’ll also use the drippings to baste the chicken so that the skin crisps up.

Like here, except for the spots where the lemons were.

And a perfect side dish that can also be roasted is sweet potatoes.  So rich in beta carotene and flavor, it’s a win-win situation.

Rosemary Lemon Chicken

1 3-4 lb chicken
2 lemons
1 sweet onion, cut into small wedges
2 carrots, cut into chunks
2 T fresh chopped rosemary, plus a 3″ stalk
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
kitchen twine

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

First off, empty the chicken’s guts (save the liver for the dog 🙂 ).  Pat the chicken dry, then rub with olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1 T rosemary.  Stuff the inside with some salt, pepper, onions, carrots, a 3″ stalk rosemary and close off the whole.  Fold up the back flap and close the drumstick ends over it and tie with twine.  Tuck the chicken wings either under the back or into the side of the breast through the fat.

Season the rest of the onions and carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the other 1 T rosemary.  Lay around the chicken, but let the chicken remain flat.  Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 375 until the thigh measures 170 F, about another hour.  Be sure to baste every 15-20 minutes with the drippings.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2 good sized sweet potatoes or yams
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 T sweet paprika

Slice the potatoes into thick fries (1/4″ is good).  Rub with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika.  Lay in a baking sheet in one layer, but not too crowded.  Place in the oven with the chicken at 450 and remove when the tips begin to burn, about 50 minutes.

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