If you’ve ever picked up a rotisserie chicken from Costco or your local grocery store, you know how good they can be and how incredibly easy it is to pull the chicken and fill tacos, make chicken clubs or just simply serve on a platter. Well, if you’ve ever been to Paris and eaten farm to table chicken roasted with herbs and vegetables, you know there’s a difference.

Now, although I’ve been to Paris, I have not experienced the scene I’ve created in my head: sidewalk cafe, french waiter named Pierre, sitting in a wobbly old red wooden chair at a large whitewashed farm table eating farm to table chicken and vegetables. Oh and of course, drinking Pinot Noir from a stemless French bistro wine glass. This vision has probably been inspired by reading Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook  and playing French cafe music while I cook. So, after making Ina Garten’s easy roast chicken, I knew the difference between the Costco bird and a home cooked, super easy, delicious roast. Here’s my version (very close to Barefoot’s) paired with roasted cauliflower mashed.

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Ingredients

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme

2-3 sprigs of rosemary

1 lemon, halved

1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter melted

2 shallots quartered

4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks

Olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken inside and out, pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Place the shallots, carrots, and rosemary in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

For an easy gravy, pour off excess fat from pan and return to heat. Whisk in 1 cup of chicken stock, 1/4 cup of cream, and sprinkle flour while scraping up the bits on the bottom of pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Keep stirring until thickened.

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Roasted Cauliflower Mashed

cauliflower

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

olive oil

1/4 cup of butter

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

1 teaspoon salt (use pink salt)

1/4 pepper

1/2 cream or milk

1 sprig of rosemary chopped (optional)

Directions:

Toss the cauliflower with garlic, rosemary and the olive oil to coat. Roast at 400 F for 20-25 minutes. Puree with the remaining ingredients.

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