When I first started cooking, one of the things that intimidated me the most was roasting a whole chicken. I don’t know why, but the whole bird is quite intimidating. There was actually a day where I only liked meat when there were no bones to be seen, but obviously, that has changed over the years. If anything, chicken on the bone is much better than boneless chicken. And a whole chicken is not nearly as intimidating as I thought it was. In fact, cooking a whole chicken is one of the easier things you can cook!
I had really high hopes for this recipe. I love chicken. I love dill. I love potatoes and leeks. And it was good. The chicken was super moist and tender. The potatoes were wonderful. But the dill flavor didn’t show through quite as much as I had hoped it would. And I didn’t really like the leeks at all. Maybe if they were cut smaller, they would have been more tender, but they were pretty tough and strong prepared the way the recipe instructs. The one complaint I had with the recipe itself is that it calls for 6 tablespoons of butter, but I can only come up with 4 tablespoons of the butter actually being used according to the directions. So either only prepare 4, or just use more butter (which is what I did!)
Recipe Rating: 3.8 out of 5
Roast Dill-Scented Chicken with Leeks and Potatoes
from Kitchen of Light
serves 4 to 6
One 4-pound chicken
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup chopped dill, plus 1 large bunch fresh dill
1 lemon, quartered
5 to 6 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, thoroughly washed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch slices
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 cups chicken stock
Fresh dill for garnish
lemon wedges and grated lemon zest for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Rub the chicken with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the butter and chopped dill. Rub the chicken with about 2 tablespoons of the dill butter. Carefully lift up the skin from the chicken breasts at the cavity, using your fingers or a blunt knife to loosen the skin; be careful not to tear it. Insert about 1 tablespoon of the dill butter under the breast skin and make sure that the skin covers the meat afterward. Refrigerate the remaining butter. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the lemon quarters and the bunch of dill.
Place the chicken breast side up on a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan. Place the roasting pan on the middle oven rack and cook the chicken for 25 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven and rub with about 1 tablespoon of the dill butter, holding the butter in your fingers. When most of the butter has melted and you are at risk of burning your fingers, place the remaining lump on the breast of the chicken.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Fill the pan with the leeks, potatoes, and garlic and add the chicken stock. Turn the chicken breast side down and place it in the roasting pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Return the roasting pan to the oven and roast for 50 to 60 minutes more, or until the chicken is cooked through. Test for doneness by piercing it with a sharp knife at the thickest part of the thigh; the juices should run clear. (If there is any trace of pink in the juices, return the chicken to the oven.) Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let it rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Check the potatoes for doneness. If they are still firm, increase the oven temperature to 400F and continue baking until the potatoes are nice and tender. Squeeze the garlic out of their skins. Leave the roasting pan in the oven with the temperature turned off.
Transfer the potatoes, leeks and garlic to a serving platter. Carve the chicken at the table (discard the lemon and the dill inside the cavity).
Garnish with dill and lemon wedges and sprinkle lemon zest on top.