It’s a New Year – try a New Vegetable!
How about this goal for the new year – Warm comforting dinners where no one objects to the vegetables served!. And this simple dish may put parsnips in your regular rotation.
An interesting preparation twist makes sure all the vegetables are flavored with chicken, garlic, shallots and rosemary. This recipe was modified from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, the Editors at America’s Test Kitchen, Brookline, MA 2010.
- Chicken thighs – I do not recommend chicken breasts, because they dry out more and are not as flavorful. They also produce fewer drippings for the vegetables.
- Potatoes – use red, white all purpose or even yukon gold. Russets tend to fall apart and create mush.
- Parsnips – try for smaller around the top. Very large parsnips tend to be woody in the middle.
- Garlic cloves
- Shallots – small onions will work here as well
- Minced fresh rosemary – my rosemary comes into my dining room from my patio in the winter. I do not have good luck with dried rosemary, so I suggest you purchase fresh for this recipe. If you buy it in a pot you can keep it alive in a window.
- Oil – Use whatever oil your family tolerates. I use avocado oil but olive oil would be great as well.
- Chicken broth or water – this is only in case your vegetables stick or dry out – mine has only done this once in many years of making this recipe
No major allergens here. Just use the root vegetables that your family can eat. Include the parsnips if at all possible – they really add flavor that makes the dish.
Have you cooked with parsnips?
They are a relative of parsley and carrots but look like a white carrot. They become sweeter when left in the ground after a frost. They also tend to be sweeter than carrots, especially when roasted.
When I was growing up, my mom would sometimes add a parsley root in her chicken soup. It is a strong flavor for a mild flavored soup, but it is yummy!
Parsnips are excellent sources of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and the B vitamin folate.
As mentioned above when the tops are bigger around they can tend to be woody. You can cut out some of the core if the top is extremely wide. I recently put some thin coins on a vegetable tray. We enjoyed but decided we like them better cooked.
The preparation is simple:
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the carrots and parsnips. Cut them into about 1 inch pieces. For the large end of the carrots, cut them in half (or even in quarters), then in one inch pieces.
Parsnips are notoriously uneven. For the small, thin ends, cut the into about 1 1/2 inch pieces. As you move up the parsnip to the large end, cut into about 1 inch pieces. You will want to quarter (or half if you are able to purchase smaller parsnips) the top of the parsnip before cutting into 1 inch pieces.
These root vegetables take longer to roast than the chicken, and take longer than the potatoes. So as soon as they are cut, I pat them dry with a paper towel so that more of the oil sticks to the vegetables. I then put the cut carrots and parsnips in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil. If all the vegetables do not look like they are covered, add more oil.
Grease the pan with a small amount of oil. I use a silicone brush to spread the oil.
Place the vegetables in a single layer in a 9 x 13 pan and place in the oven while you prepare the potatoes, garlic and shallots. For a double recipe I use a large roasting pan.
Peel the garlic cloves, keeping them whole. Peel the shallots and quarter them. If they are really small, just cut in half.
Whether or not you peel your potatoes is a matter of personal preference. Sometimes I do, sometimes I do not, depending what the peels look like and how old my potatoes are. (Note: I peel my carrots as I have had bitter carrots recently from not peeling them!)
So scrub or peel your potatoes. Cut into approximately 1 1/2 inch pieces. Pat them dry and put them in the bowl with the garlic and shallots.
Add 1 tablespoon oil and stir to coat well. Add more oil if they do not look like they are thoroughly coated.
The carrots and parsnips should have been in the oven for about 10 minutes (maybe more the first time you make this or if you are not an experienced vegetable preparer – it’s ok! You will get faster as you keep cooking!)
Remove the 9×13 pan from the oven and add the potatoes, garlic and shallots to the pan. Stir to combine and postition all vegetables in a single layer in the pan. Use a rubber or silicone spatula to scrape all the oil from the bowl. Drip it over the vegetables.
Put the vegetables back in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes.
While the vegetables roast, rinse and mince the rosemary, discarding the woody stems. If the stems are green and pliable, you can mince them. If they are brown and woody, strip the rosemary needles and just mince them. A little extra rosemary is fine!
Prepare the chicken. Pull the skin over the chicken pieces to cover them as thoroughly as possible. Place them on a cooling rack.
After the potatoes have roasted for 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven. Add the rosemary and mix.
Place the rack with the chicken over the 9×13 pan. Be sure the chicken pieces do not extend over the pan, or the drippings will go into your oven. As the chicken roasts, all the yummy chicken drippings will flavor the vegetables. And the chicken roasts more quickly and evenly on the rack.
Carefully return the pan to the oven. Managing the pan with the rack of chicken over the top is the hardest part of this recipe. If you have a pair of silicone oven mitts, use them here! After checking that the chicken pieces do not extend over the side of the pan, you may wish to put the pan in the oven and then place the chicken over the top.
Roast for about 30-35 minutes. The temperature of the chicken should be at least 170 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven. Test the root vegetables and be sure everything is tender. If not, return the vegetables to the oven while the chicken rests for about 10 minutes.
Serve the chicken with the vegetables and enjoy!
Roasted Chicken Thighs and Root Vegetables
- 1 rack
- 1 pound potatoes red or white all purpose
- 1 pound carrots, peeled
- 1 pound parsnips
- 2 shallots, peeled, quartered
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- 6* medium chicken thighs
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Peel the carrots and parsnips.
- Cut the carrots and parsnips into about 1 inch pieces. Parsnips tend to be very thick on one end. Cut these pieces in half or in quarters, so all the pieces are about the same size. Carrots may also need to be cut in half at the larger end.
- Place the carrots and parsnips in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Mix well to coat.
- Place carrots and parsnips in 9 x 13 inch, scraping all the oil from the bowl into the pan. Put vegetables in a single layer and place in the oven while the potatoes, garlic & shallots are prepared (about 10 minutes).
- Wash the potatoes and cut the potatoes into about 1½ inch pieces.
- Remove skins from garlic cloves and shallots. Quarter the shallots.
- Place potatoes, garlic and shallots in same bowl with 1 tablespoon oil. Mix well to coat all the vegetables with oil.
- Remove pan from oven and add potatoes, garlic and shallots. Rearrange vegetables so they are in a single layer.
- Roast vegetables for 20 minutes.
- While the vegetables roast, wash and mince the rosemary.
- Prepare the chicken by covering as much of the chicken flesh with skin as possible. Place chicken on rack that will go over 9 x 13 pan.
- After 20 minutes, remove pan from oven. Stir in the rosemary and be sure vegetables are in a single layer.
- Place chicken on rack over vegetables. Be sure the chicken does not extend over the pan, or drippings from the chicken will burn in your oven.
- Roast chicken for about 35 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 170° or higher.
- Remove the chicken on the rack from the top of the pan with oven mitts. Test the vegetables with a fork to be sure they are done. If not, put the vegetables back in the oven for 10 minutes or so, until the vegetables are done.
- Scrape all the pan drippings into the serving bowl! Enjoy!