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Ruth Reichl's Roast Chicken With Potatoes & Onions

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“I've just enjoyed Ruth Reichl's book about her time as a restaurant critic for the NY Times, "Garlic and Sapphires". She gives a simple, practical recipe for roast chicken that I thought great, although I did tweak it a tiny bit. She considers that it's not necessary to "make a big to-do about roasting chicken". She's so right ...”
1hr 15mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1587.57 g roasting chickens, about 3 1/2 pounds ("farm-raised", she says!)
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and each cut into 8 pieces ("Yukon Gold", she specifies, any roasting potatoes will do)
  • 1 onion, large, cut into 6 pieces
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg F/200 deg Celsius.
  2. Wash chicken and pat dry. Remove and reserve any extra fat from inside the chicken. If there is no fat, use butter:
  3. Very gently run your fingers between the breast and skin, from the neck, loosening the skin from the breast on both sides. Don't puncture the skin.
  4. Place the excess fat underneath the skin -- chop it up to spread evenly, if necessary. This way the chicken will baste itself.
  5. Puncture the lemon all over with a fork, and place inside the chicken.
  6. In a bowl, toss the potatoes, onion and garlic with olive oil so each piece is coated.
  7. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  8. (This is where I suggest something more, as few of us will find a genuinely "farm-raised" chicken. Use a good seasoning salt of your choice, and black pepper, as ordinary supermarket chickens can be very bland). Season well all over. (I would also season the cavity and then put in the lemon).
  9. Put the oil-coated veggies in a roasting pan and spread out. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. If you have a rack, put the chicken on it and jiggle things to fit over the potatoes and onion. Otherwise, just put the chicken right into the pan.
  11. Roast for about 1 hour (she says that, but I would roast it for not less than about 1 1/4 hours).
  12. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes. (I'd put it into a warming oven).
  13. Carve chicken into serving pieces, surround with the potatoes, onion and garlic, and squeeze the (baked) lemon over the top.

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