Whether you don’t like turkey, are keeping your Thanksgiving celebration small, or looking to add another protein to your meal, this Whole Roasted Chicken with Vegetables deserves a place at your table this year.
Unlike a turkey that requires hours of attention and basting, this roasted chicken is hands off AND delicious. It will leave you with more time to spend with your family and less time in the kitchen over the holiday!
Why you should butterfly a chicken before roasting it
Traditionally, chefs would have to tie up a whole chicken (called trussing) to roast it in the oven. Trussing a chicken helps it cook evenly by tying the legs and arms tightly into the body of the chicken. This method is not only time consuming on the prepping side, but it also takes much longer to cook.
Butterflying (also known as spatchcocking) a chicken is an easy workaround with tons of benefits:
It is a foolproof way to get an even cook on a roasted chicken. Usually the legs take longer than the rest of the chicken, leaving the chicken breast to turn out dry. By laying the chicken down flat to roast, the legs can cook quicker leaving all of the meat moist!
It will cut back on the cook time pretty significantly, too! Opening up the chicken and laying it flat in the oven to roast means more points of access for the oven heat. This helps the chicken cook faster overall, requiring less time in the oven.
Did someone say crispy chicken skin? The perfect combination of texture is a moist bite of chicken with crispy skin. Roasting the chicken with all of the skin facing outward means that there will be no soggy bits of skin on the underside. All of this leads to more perfect bites!
How to butterfly a whole chicken
- Place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board.
- Find the backbone where the ribs connect and cut through it on either side of the backbone. A good pair of kitchen scissors or a sharp knife should be all you need. Cut all the way down the back of the chicken.
- Once the backside of the chicken is opened up, flip it over and press the chicken open until you hear the breastbone snap. This will make sure the chicken doesn’t contract once it’s in the oven!
How to make roasted chicken and vegetables
- Using the instructions above, butterfly your whole chicken.
- Prepare all of your vegetables, trying to keep the potatoes, carrots and onions about the same size. This will ensure even cooking! Slice the lemons lengthwise and cut the tops off of the garlic cloves.
- Lay all of the veggies into a roasting pan, or oven safe pan. Squeeze in the garlic, peel on, and distribute the lemon slices over top the ingredients.
- In a measuring cup, add the olive oil, juice from one lemon, and all spices and herbs. Stir or whisk this mixture to evenly incorporate all of the flavorful herbs and spices.
- Pour about one third of this mixture over the vegetables. Use the rest of the mixture on the inside and outside of the chicken and rub it in with your hands. Lay the butterflied chicken skin side up over the vegetables.
- Heat your oven up to 375 degrees F and pop your pan in the oven for 60-75 minutes or until the juices run clear.
- Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter, and cover with aluminum foil for 20 minutes.
- Break down or pull apart the chicken, and serve!
Adding variety to the vegetables
If potatoes, carrots and tomatoes aren’t your thing, that’s totally ok! There are plenty of vegetables that are hardy enough to withstand the heat of this recipe. Here are some that you can easily swap in place:
Brussels Sprouts: make sure to blanch (partially cook in boiling water) brussels sprouts before laying them in to roast. When they are fresh they are super tough and need to soften up slightly before they can be roasted.
Broccoli or Cauliflower: both of these cruciferous veggies are packed with nutrients and make a great addition to a roast.
Parsnips: similar to carrots, parsnips are a root vegetable that have a decent sugar content. This makes them ideal for roasting as they will caramelize as they roast and add some awesome flavor to the dish.
Squash: a bit sweet and very on theme for a Thanksgiving roast! Any type of peeled and cubed squash would work out well in this dish.
Mushrooms: button mushrooms also work very well to accompany a roast. Just be sure not to cut them too small (better yet – leave them whole!) as they will shrink in the oven.
Whole Roasted Chicken with Vegetables
- 1 whole 5-6 lb chicken
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tsp smoked paprika
- 3 tsp dried oregano
- 1 spring fresh thyme
- 3 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp lemon pepper
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 lb quartered red potatoes
- 1/2 lb quartered yukon gold potatoes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 head garlic
- 3 whole lemons
- 2 carrots
- 1 large quartered onion
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a measuring cup combine the olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, and all the spices and seasonings. Mix together.
- In a large baking dish or cast iron pan and all the chopped vegetables. Peel the outer layers of the whole head of garlic. Making sure to leave the garlic cloves intact. Place the head of garlic on the baking dish.
- Pour 1/3 of the marinade over the vegetables and toss to combine.
- To butterfly the chicken, place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board. Find the backbone where the ribs connect and cut through it on either side of the backbone. A good pair of kitchen scissors or a sharp knife should be all you need. Cut all the way down the back of the chicken.Once the backside of the chicken is opened up, flip it over and press the chicken open until you hear the breastbone snap. This will make sure the chicken doesn’t contract once it’s in the oven!
- Rub the remaining marinade on the inside of the chicken, under the skin and on top. Lay the chicken over the vegetables.
- Bake for 60-75 minutes or until juices run clear.
- Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter, and cover with aluminum foil for 20 minutes or until ready to serve.