My absolute favorite family meal is a roast chicken and veggies. It requires little effort by the one cooking, fills your home with the most amazing smells and is so very delicious. It is also a meal that the whole family, babies and toddler included, can enjoy together.
This recipe is suitable for babies 7-9 months and up, toddlers, big kids and adults. All you have to do is make sure the consistency is one your baby can handle. Mushy-mash for 7-9 months, chunk-a-licious for 10-12 months and bite sized pieces for toddlers. Serves 2 adults and 2 children.
What you'll need:
1 whole, organic chicken between 3 and 4 lbs
3 organic carrots
2 small/medium organic yukon gold potatoes
1 sweet potato
1 large yellow onion
2-4 cloves of garlic
3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher or coarse sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper for seasoning
It is important to wash your hands thoroughly and repeatedly with soap and water when working with raw chicken so as not to spread any bacteria. When I roast a chicken, I usually wash my hands 5-7 times during the process. You don't want to touch the raw chicken then touch your knife, then touch the refrigerator door, etc.
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a large roasting pan. Wash the carrots, potatoes and sweet potato thoroughly under cold running water. Peel and chop the carrots and place into the roasting pan. Chop the potatoes and sweet potato and place into the pan. Remove rough outer layer of the onion, cut into wedges and place into roasting pan. Season veggies with about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher or sea salt and toss with a spoon to combine.
Peel and mince the garlic. Move the veggies to the outside of the roasting pan and place the minced garlic in the center.
Okay, here's where it can get a little yucky, but trust me, it'll be worth it. On a seperate cutting board, unwrap the chicken, remove the insides and discard them (most whole chickens will have the insides wrapped in a package and stuck back inside). Trim off any excess skin and discard. Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with a paper towl. Cut the lemon into quarters and stuff inside the chicken along with the fresh rosemary. Coat the chicken with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season the inside and outside with kosher or sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Tie the legs together with a piece of butcher's twine (available in most grocery stores) and place the chicken in the center of the roasting pan on top of the garlic.
Place the roasting pan in the oven on the center rack and roast for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, move the veggies around the pan so they roast evenly. Continue roasting for another 25-30 minutes, depending on how big the chicken is.
Remove roasting pan from the oven and place the chicken on a seperate plate for 10 minutes. During this time the juices will redistribute so it will be incredibly flavorful. Scoop the veggies onto a seperate plate and cover loosely with foil. Squeeze 2 of the lemon wedges onto the chicken and the other 2 into the pan. The natural cooking juices and garlic in the roasting pan mix with the lemon juice to form an amazingly flavorful and light sauce.
Carve the chicken by slicing down the middle and removing the breast meat. Then remove the leg and thigh meat. Turn the chicken over and remove the dark meat. Dark meat is higher in iron and protin than the white meat. Place any excess juices back into the roasting pan to add to the sauce.
For babies 7-12 months, place some chicken and veggies into the food processor with a little of the pan juices and pulse until the consistency is one your baby can handle. For toddlers, cut into bite sized pieces and top with the pan juices.
The leftovers will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.
While the thought of roasting a whole chicken can seem intimidating, it's easier than it looks. The oven does most of the work, but you will get all of the credit - enjoy!
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