Photograph by Bill Phelps Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Roasted Chicken

Mains from Issue 2 – Fall / Winter 2013 – Traces

A generously endowed chicken is festooned with a bouquet of fresh herbs and lemon, then surrounded by an army of garlic cloves (no need to even peel them) and knobby Hobbit-like bulbs of celery root and roasted to crispy perfection. It is, simply put, a total head-turner.

serves 4

  • 4 (6 oz) heads whole, unpeeled, scrubbed celery root (or 1 large one peeled and cut into ¾-inch wedges)
  • A handful mixed fresh herbs (like sage, parsley, thyme, and rosemary)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (3 to 3½ lbs) whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
  • ½ lemon
  • 3 heads garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1

    Preheat oven to 425°F. If using whole celery roots, poke a few times with a fork then microwave 5 minutes (see note below if you don’t own a microwave). Remove from microwave and wrap each in foil and let sit while preparing chicken. Be careful, bundles can get very hot.

  • 2

    Finely chop enough herbs to make 1 Tbsp then stir into butter. Gently loosen skin on breast and smear herb butter under skin. Season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Put lemon half, a couple cloves of garlic, and remaining herb sprigs inside.

  • 3

    Tie chicken and place in a large roasting pan. Discard foil from celery roots then toss with remaining garlic and olive oil and scatter around chicken.

  • 4

    Roast until chicken is cooked through and celery roots are tender, about 50 minutes. Set on a board to rest.

    Note: If you don’t own a microwave, celery roots can be tossed with oil and cooked in a separate baking pan. Start with oven at 350°F about 45 minutes before chicken and garlic are roasted. Increase oven to 425°F when adding the chicken and garlic to the oven.