Part of the joy of spring — besides fresh vegetables and lovely weather — is the many opportunities to gather and celebrate. There’s Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and the start of graduation season, as well as many birthdays sprinkled in, of course. The change in seasons also allows for outdoor dinner parties with friends.
I’m always looking for a meal to share for spring entertaining that’s both easy to pull off and still has that “wow” factor. A whole roasted chicken is that meal for me. For some added flavor, I brush the chicken with a honey balsamic and rosemary glaze before roasting, and then save a few spoonfuls to pour over the baby vegetables just before serving.
A whole chicken can easily feed a crowd, making it a great dish to serve for a holiday (enough with the turkey already, Thanksgiving), special occasion, or family dinner. And if your gathering is on the smaller side, don’t worry: A roasted chicken makes for delicious leftovers. You can also roast up extra vegetables or serve it with a sweet spring salad.
Whole Roasted Chicken with Baby Vegetables
- 1 Roasting pan or 9×13 pan
- 1 5-pound whole frozen chicken
- 1 whole lemon
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
For the honey balsamic glaze
For the baby vegetables
- 1 pound Harry & David mixed baby vegetables (your choice — I used green beans, baby squash, and radishes)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the chicken and glaze
- Plan on a full two days to defrost. Set the frozen chicken in a dish or shallow bowl and place it in the fridge on the lowest shelf possible.
- After the first day of defrosting, peel off the packaging from the chicken and remove the giblets. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place it on a plate to defrost for another day. This air-dry method for defrosting helps the chicken attain crispy skin in the oven.
- Place the thawed chicken on the counter for 30 minutes to come to room temperature. Resting at room temperature helps the inside of the chicken be the same temperature as the outer pieces before it hits the oven. This helps reduce oven time and subsequently prevent the meat from drying out.
- Preheat the oven to 425° F, ensuring a rack is in the center position. Have ready a roasting pan, or you can approximate a roasting pan by lining a 9×13 pan with celery stalks on the bottom. The celery keeps the chicken propped up slightly so heat can circulate around it and crisp the skin.
- Place the chicken in the pan, and then squeeze the juice from the lemon all over the skin of the chicken. Place the spent lemon pieces inside the cavity of the chicken.
- Evenly sprinkle a tablespoon of salt over all sides of the chicken, including inside the cavity. Repeat with the pepper.
- Rub the olive oil all over the chicken.
- Place the chicken in the oven and set the timer for 35 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, make the honey balsamic glaze by whisking together all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the glaze for the vegetables.
- After 35 minutes, take the chicken out and brush the glaze on top. Return the chicken to the oven and set the timer again for 35 minutes.
- Start making the vegetables (see below).
- About 15 minutes before the timer goes off, check on the chicken. If the skin is golden brown, cover the chicken with foil while it finishes cooking. This way, the meat continues to cook to the right temperature, but the chicken won’t get too dark.
- When the timer goes off, test the chicken with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, being careful not to rest it on the bone. The chicken is done when the temperature reads 160° F.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. The temperature will continue to climb and hit 165° F about 5 minutes after it’s been out of the oven.
For the vegetables
- After basting the chicken with the glaze and putting it back in the oven, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once the water boils, add 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Add the vegetables to the boiling water, stir, and let them cook for about 2 minutes. Strain the vegetables over the sink.
- Melt the butter in a skillet. When the butter is sizzling, add the vegetables and sauté, stirring often, for 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Finally, stir in the reserved honey balsamic glaze and cook another minute to reduce.
- Serve the chicken whole, with the baby vegetables on the side and extra glaze to pour over the vegetables.