Sunday Dinner: Roasted Chicken and Potatoes, Buttered Carrots, and Watercress Salad

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One of my favorite dinners to make for our family Sunday dinner is a roasted chicken. Especially with the weather getting chilly outside, it warms your house and your stomach. I do a variety of preparations using various herbs and seasoning, but one of my top favorites remains using simple paprika. The sweet, smoky flavor adds warmth and color to your chicken. And by adding potatoes to the roasting pan too, you season the potatoes as the juices from the chicken melt out and baste the potatoes by itself. Two simple sides that come together in 10 minutes are buttered carrots and a watercress salad. This meal hits the spot for a romantic dinner by the fireplace, a hearty meal with the kids, or a special warm treat for family and friends. I love a bottle of pinot noir with this as well. Enjoy it! 

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
1 roasting chicken (about 5-6 pounds) at room temperature
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 lb yukon gold potatoes
1 small white onion, peeled and cut in half

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove all the giblets from the chicken and discard. Wash the chicken with cool water and pat dry very well with paper towels. It's important that the chicken be at room temperature when you're working with it to ensure even cooking and a moist bird!

Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, and place the onion inside. Rub the outside of the chicken all over with the butter, making sure to get it everywhere you can. Season the outside of the chicken with a generous amount of salt and pepper, and a little sprinkling of the paprika. Set the chicken in a roasting pan.

To prepare the potatoes, wash and scrub the potatoes and pat dry with towel. Cut the potatoes in half, and even in quarters if needed to get all the potatoes roughly the same size (again to ensure even cooking). Place the potatoes in the roasting pan with the chicken, surrounding the chicken with the potatoes or if your pan is too small to do that, rest the chicken on top of a bed of the potatoes. Drizzle the potatoes with some olive oil and season them with a good amount of salt and pepper and another small sprinkling of paprika.

Place in oven breast side up and roast about 1.5 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 145-150 degrees. If you find your chicken is burning, then reduce the temperature down to 400 degrees and continue cooking until temperature is reached. If it's still burning, loosely cover the chicken with aluminum foil. Cooking chicken will completely depend on how powerful your oven is, so make sure you keep an occasional eye on it!

When chicken temperature is reached, remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before cutting so juices can redistribute. This will ensure a moist bird for you.

Buttered Carrots
1 lb carrots, peeled and ends trimmed off
1/2 stick unsalted butter
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp granulated sugar

Cut carrots into 1/3 inch pieces. Slicing on the diagonal makes for a pretty presentation, but a rough chop is just fine as well. Place carrots in cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to high simmer and cook carrots until tender -- easily pierced with a fork. Drain and return carrots back to the drained pot. Add the butter, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Watercress Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
2 bunches watercress, stems removed
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (eyeball it)
juice of 1 lemon

Wash and spin dry the watercress. Place in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. To make the simple vinaigrette, simply whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Drizzle over the watercress until they're just covered but not completely soaked in the vinaigrette. Give a gentle toss and serve immediately.

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