Even though I’m an adult (easy to dispute, I know) my timeline still seems to revolve around that pesky school schedule that ruled the first few decades of my life. I get a little giddy mid-May. My brain seems to think I’m about to get a three-month break and a family vacation. I still think we all deserve a spring break. We should really get more time off over the New Year. And to this day, I get kind of sad when I see school supplies in stores. I used to color-coordinate my Lisa Frank notebooks and pencil bags with the best of them, but I was always reluctant to head back to school. What I did like about the start of the school year was the fact that everything seemed to start anew. We got back to basics. New binders with blank pages, fresh pencils, and untouched erasers. Weekends were for chocolate chip cookies and succulent roast chickens. What better way to ease yourself into autumn and the school year than with a roast chicken with croutons?
This recipe for roast chicken with croutons has nostalgia written all over it. Carrots and shallots serve as a bed for a chicken that is seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and olive oil. A whole head of garlic and a juicy lemon roast alongside. Once the veggies are tender and lightly caramelized and the chicken is cooked through with a crisp skin, move on to the good part – the empty carbs! I like to squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from their skins, mash them into a paste, and toss with torn pieces of crusty bread in the pan drippings. Return to the oven and bake until crisp. For finishing touches, drizzle any juices released while the chicken rested over the sliced meat. Squeeze the lemon halves over the vegetables and bread. Sprinkle everything with a small handful of parsley for a pop of color.
Pro tip – plan ahead! An overnight rest with seasoning will help with water retention, making your bird more juicy and succulent the next day. Season your chicken with salt and pepper the night before you plan to roast it, and keep it covered in the fridge. The next day, let the chicken stand at room temperature for about an hour while you prep the rest of your ingredients. Pat the skin dry, rub with olive oil, and roast away.
- 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
- 3 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
- 1 lemon, halved crosswise
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces crusty bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for serving
- Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Chill, covered, overnight.
- Let chicken stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss carrots and shallots with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper; arrange in an even layer in the center of a large roasting pan to create a rack for the chicken. Pat chicken dry; rub with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, tie legs with twine, and place over vegetables in roasting pan. Add garlic and lemon halves to pan. Roast 25 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375°F; cook, flipping vegetables once, until vegetables are tender and chicken is golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted into the the thickest part of the breast registers 155°F, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer carrots and shallots to a serving platter; squeeze with lemon juice. Transfer chicken to a cutting board to rest.
- Squeeze garlic cloves from skins and mash into a paste. Toss with bread cubes in pan juices and season lightly with salt and pepper; spread into an even layer. Bake, tossing once, until golden and crisp, 9 to 12 minutes.
- To serve, carve chicken and arrange on platter. Scatter croutons around chicken and serve sprinkled with parsley.
If you have the time, season chicken and let rest, covered, overnight in the refrigerator. Otherwise, season just before cooking.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 900