Roast Chicken Dinner

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Roast Chicken Dinner

With the cooler weather coming on, I find myself cooking more comfort foods again. I can’t tell you the scientific formula for how cool weather translates into cooking foods that cause warm, fuzzy feelings to surface from deep within, but I am sure there is one. In actual fact, when I made this meal, it was cooler, then our internet went kerplunk. By the time it struggled to life again, the weather had forgotten that it was November and decided to act like it was September instead. It was as if God said, “You know what? These poor humans have had a rough year. Let’s surprise them with a November that will knock their socks off. Literally.” I was taught never to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I’ll take it and say Thanks!

One of these comfort meals is a roast chicken dinner. Because I have heard a lot of young cooks wishing for recipes for roasting meats, I am trying to write down what I do, so that I can pass it on. I have posted a blog on Roast Beef, now it’s time to add chicken to the menu.

On the podcast I did recently with my nephew, we talked a bit about shallots as an interesting and little-used vegetable that is gaining in popularity. I like to use them because they peel easily, are easy to slice or chop and have a mild flavour that hovers somewhere between garlic and onion. I usually add them to both roast beef and roast chicken. Click on the link and have a listen, if you please!

I peeled and sliced the shallots, sprinkled them in the bottom of the roasting pan, then laid the chicken over them. Whether you lay it breast-side up or down depends on whether you want crispy skin or super soft breast meat. The bird I was using was not the prettiest hen in the flock so I laid it face down. Then I drizzled it lightly with olive oil (or you could use butter), and squeezed half a lemon over it before sprinkling it liberally with steak spice, salt and pepper. Next I poured about an inch of water, apple cider or broth around it. I covered it and roasted it for an hour at high heat, then turned the temperature down and did it long and slow.

About two to three hours before serving, I added small red potatoes, carrot sticks and cabbage wedges to the pan. The cabbage wedges help create more warm fuzzies for me. My mom used to add cabbage to roast beef and chicken and I still love that. Roast it all again until it’s done!

Roast Chicken Dinner

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. The stories and recipes are my own.

Roast Chicken Dinner


  • 5 pound roasting chicken
  • 3 French shallots or small onions, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • olive oil or melted butter, *preferred seasonings, salt and pepper
  • half of a lemon
  • 2 cups apple juice, water, white wine, or weak broth
  • 12 small or 6 medium red potatoes, whole or halved
  • 6 medium carrots, cut in sticks
  • 1 cabbage wedge per person, 2″ thick at widest side
  • 1 1/2 cups water for gravy
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch or all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Peel the shallots and slice them into 1/4′ thick slices, scattering them in the bottom of the roaster. Lay the chicken breast side up or down over the shallots. Up for crispy skin, down for super soft breast meat. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze half a lemon over it, and sprinkle with *desired seasoning mix, salt and pepper. Pour 2 cups of apple juice/cider, water, wine, or weak broth around the chicken. Cover and roast at 400° for one hour.

Turn heat back to 325°F (163°C) and roast for 3 to four hours longer. If you’re gone all day, turn the heat down to 275°F (135°) for up to 8 hours. Add the vegetables about 2 hours before serving, and sprinkle them with salt. You may want to turn the heat up a few notches at this point, depending on your oven.

Remove the chicken and vegetables onto a tray and keep warm. Strain the broth in the pan through a sieve and put it back into the roast pan or into a pot. You should have about 3 cups. Heat it on top of the stove to a low boil. Whisk together your water and corn starch or flour. Slowly add to the simmering broth, whisking all the while. Keep the gravy warm while you slice the chicken and arrange it on a platter with the vegetables. Drizzle a bit of gravy over the chicken “for pretty” and to keep it moist on the platter. Garnish with fresh herbs and leftover lemon half, if desired.

*Seasoning ideas: Montreal steak spice, seasoning salt, smoked paprika, Swiss Chalet marinade mix (if you’re Canadian), Greek seasoning mix, Italian seasonings or just lots of salt and pepper!