Today was really too warm to crank up the oven, but chicken leg quarters were on sale at my grocery store for $1.09/lb. It was an offer I couldn't refuse, so I broke out my version of the No-Hassle Roast Chicken in "How to Cook Without a Book" by Pam Anderson. This recipe is one of my most reliable standbys in the kitchen; it's easy, healthy, and economical, with lots of leftover cooked chicken for pasta, stir-fries, sandwiches, etc. It's hard to find a meal that everyone at our house likes, and this one fits the bill.
3-5 lbs chicken, either 1-2 whole fryers (butterflied) or parts
1-2 lbs red potatoes, halved
4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2-3 sweet onions, peeled and cut into eighths
1 Tbs dried thyme leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine spices in a mortar and grind. (I always move the mixture to a small plastic bowl that will go in the dishwasher after I've handled it with "chicken hands," so I don't have to worry about contaminating the mortar and pestle.) Set seasonings aside.
Arrange prepped vegetables in a large roasting pan, with cut the cut sides of the potatoes facing down. (You don't see any potatoes in the picture, because the ones I'd planned to use had already sneaked past their prime.)
Turn your attention to the chicken. Ignore the following if you're using parts: If you've never butterflied a whole chicken before, it's easier than it sounds, but be very careful not to cut yourself with the shears. Remove the extra parts tucked away in the cavity and rinse the chicken. Take a good pair of kitchen shears and locate the back of the bird. If you are right handed, cut along the right side of the spine. When you reach the other side of the bird, give it a 180° turn and cut back across on the other side of the spine. (Reverse the instructions if you are a lefty.) I also cut off the wing tips and save the neck, back, and tips in the freezer for making stock.
Place your butterflied chicken or chicken parts in the pan with the veggies. I like to roast chicken with the skin on, so that it doesn't dry out, but remove the skin before eating it. Pam Anderson's instructions for placing the seasoning underneath the skin gives me the best of both worlds. Gently pull back the skin from the meat, and rub the seasonings onto it. Replace the skin and sprinkle any remaining spices onto the surrounding veggies. Be sure to wash your hands and disinfect surfaces after handling raw poultry.Place pan in the oven and roast for 40-45 minutes. If you wish, you can rearrange the veggies halfway through the cook time so that they are more evenly browned. (We never have any of these caramelized veggies leftover!)