Roast Chicken Dinner

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Roasted chicken has always felt like a quintessentially grown-up meal.  For a long time it seemed so intimidating to me.  A few years ago I mastered it though, and it’s something we have in our regular dinner rotation.  It’s nice because you can swap in different produce for the seasons.  Leftover chicken is also great to have in soups, salads, or for sandwiches.  What I learned that was a game-changer for me was that salting the chicken a few days before you’re ready to cook it made it moist, flavorful, and gave it that crispy skin everyone dreams about.  I know this seems like a lot of planning, but trust me it’s totally worth it!  It’s also nice because you don’t have to add any salt to the stuff you cook in with the chicken since the juices will take care of that.

Let’s get to it!  

Two days before you plan on cooking your chicken, you’ll need to salt it.  Pat it dry and take out any innards that came with it.  I like to stockpile these in the freezer for the next time we make a big batch of chicken stock, but that’s your call.  Put the chicken in a flat dish with sides that is at least nine by thirteen inches.  It’s important that the dish has sides tall enough to keep in any juices.  Now measure out your salt.  You’re going to use 3/4 teaspoon for every pound of chicken.  It’s going to look like a lot, but trust me.  Now just rub that evenly into the chicken on the front, back, all the parts and a little inside.  Put the chicken uncovered in your fridge for 2 days.  

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, take it out of the fridge an hour before if possible.  Allowing it to come up to room temp will help with the cooking.  If you don’t have time for this, it’s not the end of the world, though.  

Preheat your oven.  

In a large roasting pan, you’re going to add your apples and sweet potatoes.  Cut the apples in half and core them  I would recommend using a crispy apple like Honeycrisp or Fuji that will stand up to cooking.  They are going to be in the oven awhile, so you don’t want something that’s going to end up as applesauce when you’re done.  For the sweet potatoes, if they aren’t too big just cut them in half also.   Put the apples and sweet potatoes in the pans and coat them in the olive oil.

Now put your chicken on the top of the apples and sweet potatoes.  They are basically going to act as your “rack”.  They will also soak up all the tasty chicken juices.

Roast in the oven for an hour to an hour and a half depending on the size.  It’s done when the juices run clear and the temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Look at that crispy skin!

When it’s done, take it out of the oven and let it rest 15 minutes. The resting time is important for moist chicken.

Put the chicken on a large cutting board and carve.  Serve with the apples and sweet potatoes.

I love the combo of apples and sweet potatoes with this chicken for fall.  They get a caramelization to them that is divine and are flavored with the chicken.  It’s also great because you don’t really need to make anything else.  You’ve got your main and sides all in one!

In other seasons, I like using potatoes or squash.  I bet this would be good with portobello mushrooms too.  The main thing you’re looking for when choosing a fruit or veggie to roast with the chicken is how well it’ll hold up to being cooked that long.




Roast Chicken Dinner
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  • 1 whole chicken
  • Salt- 3/4 teaspoon per pound of chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large crisp apples
  • 2 large sweet potatoes


  1. Two days before cooking, rub chicken evenly with salt. Put in a 9x13” pan uncovered in fridge for 2 days.
  2. Remove chicken from fridge 1 hour before cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Cut the apples and sweet potatoes in half. Core the apples.
  5. Put them in a large roasting pan and cover with the olive oil
  6. Put your chicken on top of the apples and sweet potatoes.
  7. Roast 1-1 1/2 hours. It’s done when the juices run clear and temperature reaches 160 degrees.
  8. Rest 15 minutes.
  9. Carve and serve with apples and sweet potatoes on the side.

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