Roast Chicken with Winter Root Vegetables

No Comments 09 February 2012

Contributed by Bryce Lambert

There’s little that’s more essential in a chef’s repertoire than a well roasted chicken. It’s easy, classic, inexpensive, and feeds a family as well as it feeds diners in a hip bistro. And considering the small amount of effort that goes into it, a neatly trussed chicken presents exceedingly well. But, like turkey at Thanksgiving, it’s the sides to a chicken dinner that make it memorable. I have fond childhood memories of Sunday dinners with canned Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, Stove Top stuffing, and those Pillsbury crescent rolls that come in a tube. Ah, how times have changed.

There’s a lot of ways to cook a chicken–un-stuffed, stuffed, vertically, horizontally–but roasting the chicken on top of a bed (or natural roasting rack) of vegetables is the only one that leaves you with a delicious side dish of roasted veggies soaked in the chicken’s juices. Where stuffing tends to dry out a bird, this makes sure those savory drippings don’t go to waste. I used a large Pillivuyt roasting pan from Didriks that’s perfectly sized for a few generous helpings of vegetables and a 4-5 lbs. bird. And, when it was time to do the dishes, this porcelain dish was several times easier to wash than several “non-stick” roasting pans I’ve owned.

A Trip to the Market

This meal really began with a trip to the Cambridge Winter Farmers’ Market, Cambridge’s greatest wintertime resource for the home cook. Every Saturday between 10am-2pm from January to April, farmers, cheesemongers, fishmongers, and other small vendors gather at the Cambridge Community Center. In these months when the more popular outdoor markets are long closed and grocers like Whole Foods have substantially extended the reach of their supply chains, it’s a true pleasure to know that fresh, local produce is so close by. Some of my current favorites include Apex Orchards‘ delicious apples, Valicenti Organico‘s fresh ravioli (try the Toasted Cauliflower with Golden Raisins & Grana Padano!), Wolf Meadow Farms‘ Italian Cheeses (try the fresh milky Primo Sale!), as well as hearty winter root vegetables and braising greens from farms like Red Fire Farm.

I highly suggest you go. Visit cambridgewinterfarmersmarket.com for more information and to see who will be there.

A quick stop at the market left me with celery root, parsnips, turnips, and an earthy rainbow of beautiful potatoes: red, blue, purple, and yellow. Along with an onion and carrot (because they caramelize so deliciously when roasted), I cubed the vegetables and layered them across the bottom of the Pillivuyt roaster. They’ll shrink quite a bit, so don’t be shy. A little salt and pepper (I use a great course pink Himalayan sea salt that Cambridge Naturals sells in bulk) and a drizzle of olive oil and the vegetable bed is ready for the chicken. Continue Reading


Brined Roasted Turkey

No Comments 23 November 2010

Brined Roasted Turkey

Brined Roasted Turkey



  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey (but this reipe is simple to adjust for larger birds)
  • 1 large orange, cut into 1/8ths
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/8ths
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/2 bunch sage
  • 3 or 4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting

Turkey Broth:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Reserved turkey neck and giblets
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 3 cups turkey stock, chicken stock, or canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 cups water


  • 4 cups turkey broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Start with the brine the night before. Dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a container like a clean bucket, large stockpot, or cooler. Toss in the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary. If your turkey is bigger than 12 pounds and you think it needs more brine, add 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar more for each additional gallon of water.
  2. Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and set aside to use in the gravy later. Rinse the bird well in the sink and put it in the brine for about 24 hours, less is fine if you’re short on time, but try to give it at least 12 hours in the solution for the full benefit of brining. Most will tell you to keep it in the fridge during this time, but refrigerator space is usally scarce around Thanksgiving. During colder Thanksgivings, I’ve used a cooler as my brining vessel and left it in the garage overnight, occasionally adding ice to the brine to keep the temperature down during the warmer part of the day.
  3. You’ll want to follow the instructions pertaining to cooking time your bird likely came with, but these should provide you with the basics for a 10-12 pound bird. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Remove turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold water. Pat it dry inside the cavity and out and place it, breast side up, in a large roasting pan. Rub the breast side with orange quarters and rub all sides with the butter, stuffing some underneath the skin. Season inside and out with salt & pepper and stuff the cavity with the onion, remaining orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Roast the turkey, uncovered, with the breast side down for 1 hour.
  4. When the hour is up, remove from the oven, turn it over, and baste the bird with 1/2 cup of stock. Continue to roast your turkey with the breast side up until a meat thermometer measures 165°F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone). About 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with about a 1/2 cup of the stock.
  5. When you remove it from the oven, tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving. Be sure to save the pan and pan juices for making the gravy.

For the turkey broth:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard. Saute for about 1 minute, until they’re almost browned. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and saute until soft, about 2 more minutes.
  2. Pour the stock and 3 cups of water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about an hour. Add the chopped liver to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  3. Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup. Pull the meat off the neck, coursely chop the neck meat and giblets, and set aside for the gravy.

For the gravy:

  1. Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a glass measuring cup and skim off the fat.
  2. Place the roasting pan across 2 stovetop burners over medium heat. Add the pan juice, 1 cup turkey broth, and the white wine to the pan to deglaze it, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 3 cups of broth, bring to a simmer, and then transfer everything to a measuring cup.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux. Pour in the hot stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the reserved neck meat and giblets to the pan and a seasoning with salt and black pepper.
    1. Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse and the Food Network.

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