Scarborough Fair Roast Chicken

November 16, 2012

I didn’t grow up in a meat-and-potatoes household. When I was a kid, we frequently enjoyed meals prepared from Gourmet magazine, the original Moosewood cookbook, and the Frugal Gourmet. Basically, everything we ate had at least 10 ingredients. :) So while I’m fairly comfortable with recipes that have a lot of steps to them (like lasagnas and risottos), cooking a single large piece of meat like a roast or a chicken is actually a little intimidating! The Fair Game Food Co at the Public Market had whole free-range chickens for sale on Saturday, so I decided it was finally time to take the plunge and try roasting a whole chicken.

This recipe in my Bon Appetit cookbook looked promising as the size of the chicken I had matched what the recipe called for, and I already had the rest of the ingredients (potatoes, shallots, herbs) on hand. The whole process was actually way easier than I expected! Fortunately I’m not squeamish about touching raw meat, which I’m sure helps. Just had to rub the inside and outside with salt/herbs and pop it in the oven. It took longer to chop up all the veggies than to prep the chicken!

The original recipe calls for only 4 potatoes, but I increased the quantity to 5 because I wanted more leftovers. This turned out incredibly delicious and flavorful, especially with the pan sauce made from the drippings. It was an easy Sunday supper, and I’ll definitely be making it again now that I’ve taken the plunge! Now I just need to learn how to carve it up more neatly…

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme roast chicken

Serves 4


  • 1  4½-pound chicken
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2  teaspoons rosemary
  • 1½  teaspoons ground or dried rubbed sage
  • 1½  teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2  bay leaves, divided
  • 6  tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 5  russet potatoes (unpeeled), quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
  • 8  large shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 1¾  cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/4  cup balsamic vinegar
  • 6  tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • Minced fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Rub chicken inside and out with salt. Combine rosemary, sage, thyme, and a generous amount of pepper in a small bowl. Rub some of the herb mixture inside chicken. Place 1 bay leaf in cavity. Tie legs together to hold shape. Brush chicken with some of olive oil. Sprinkle with half of remaining herb mixture. Place chicken in heavy large roasting pan. Surround with potatoes and shallots. Sprinkle vegetables with remaining herb mixture and remaining olive oil. Add remaining bay leaf and mix well.
  2. Roast chicken until juices run clear which chicken is pierced in thickest part of thigh, basting chicken with pan juices and turning vegetables occasionally, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to platter with chicken. Discard bay leaf. Tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  3. Pour pan juices into large glass measuring cup; skim off fat from top. Add enough broth to measure 2 cups. Add vinegar to roasting pan; set over 2 burners and bring to boil over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits. Boil until reduced to glaze, about 4 minutes. Add broth mixture and boil until reduced to ½ cup, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley. Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables and serve.

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