You don’t have to sacrifice taste while trying to save some money. We’ve made a simple roast chicken dish that tastes anything but. Served with fresh salsa verde and satisfying rice and vegetables, you don’t give up anything while protecting your wallet.
1 pound medium carrots
3 small yellow onions, quartered
6 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 3 to 3 1/2 pound whole chicken
1 cup converted long-grain white rice
1 large lemon
1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 cup parsley leaves and tender stems
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Cut carrots into 2-inch-long pieces, halving lengthwise for those thicker than 1/2 inch in diameter. Toss the carrots, onion and 5 cloves of garlic with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl until evenly coated, then spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.
Using kitchen shears, cut along each side of the chicken backbone, removing the backbone completely, then discard or save for another use (such as making stock). Turn the chicken breast side up. Press down on the breast with both hands to flatten the chicken. Brush all sides with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a few good grinds of pepper. Place the chicken breast side up on top of the vegetables in the center of the baking sheet.
Bake until chicken is golden brown and thigh registers about 150 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F and continue cooking until the chicken skin is a deep golden brown and the thigh registers 165 degrees F on a thermometer, another 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest.
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Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water and 3/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the rice, stir to combine and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the water, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
While the rice and chicken are cooking, finely grate the zest of half a lemon. Cut the lemon in half crosswise; juice half and cut the other into wedges for serving. Place the lemon zest and juice, cilantro, parsley, remaining garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Drizzle in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil to combine. Season the salsa verde with salt and pepper.
Place the rice on one side of a serving plate and the sautéed vegetables on the other. Top with chicken. Drizzle any juices that remain in the pan over the chicken and rice. Serve with salsa verde and lemon wedges.