This is a recipe I picked up while staying with friends in South Africa. It is my own variation based on what I remember from watching it being prepared, along with a brining trick I picked up from listening to The Splendid Table with Lynn Rosetto Kasper. It is so easy, so delicious, and so predictable, I often make it for company.
Below is the basic gist of the recipe, but what’s great about it is that you can substitute different vegetables and it tastes just as great. (Just be sure to stick with heartier veggies, like winter squashes and root veggies, which can handle being cooked for an hour without disintegrating!)
Note: DO NOT skip the brining process. That is the most important part!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 large container of white vinegar
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 head of garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- salt and fresh pepper to taste
- optional: italian seasoning or a favorite seasoning mixture, like Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning or Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
Here’s what you’ll do:
- About 1-3 hours before cooking, wash the chicken and place it in a large bowl. Cover it with white vinegar. Let it sit (brine) for 1-3 hours in the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Place the butternut squash pieces across the bottom of a large glass or ceramic baking dish
- Break the onion pieces up and scatter the pieces across the squash
- Scatter the cloves of garlic across the squash and onion
- Remove the chicken from the vinegar and drain off all of the vinegar into the sink. Briefly rinse the chicken with cold water, then let it drain again.
- Place the chicken on top of the squash/onion/garlic
- Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice then drizzle all over the chicken
- Salt and pepper over the chicken and remaining veggies in the pan to taste. If you want, add the optional seasoning as well.
- Bake at 400 for about 75 minutes. Depending on the size of the chicken, it might take another 15 minutes or so. Use a meat thermometer if you want to be sure the inside is cooked, but for me, it never takes more than 90 minutes total.
Recommended Side Dish: Christy’s Amazing Rosemary Potatoes (Click for Recipe)