Ruth Reichl's Roast Chicken With Potatoes & Onions

Total Time
1hr 15mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr

I've just enjoyed Ruth Reichl's book about her time as a restaurant critic for the NY Times, "Garlic and Sapphires". She gives a simple, practical recipe for roast chicken that I thought great, although I did tweak it a tiny bit. She considers that it's not necessary to "make a big to-do about roasting chicken". She's so right ...

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 (3 1/2 lb) roasting chickens, about 3 1/2 pounds ("farm-raised", she says!)
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and each cut into 8 pieces ("Yukon Gold", she specifies, any roasting potatoes will do)
  • 1 onion, large, cut into 6 pieces
  • 3 -4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg F/200 deg Celsius.
  2. Wash chicken and pat dry. Remove and reserve any extra fat from inside the chicken. If there is no fat, use butter:.
  3. Very gently run your fingers between the breast and skin, from the neck, loosening the skin from the breast on both sides. Don't puncture the skin.
  4. Place the excess fat underneath the skin -- chop it up to spread evenly, if necessary. This way the chicken will baste itself.
  5. Puncture the lemon all over with a fork, and place inside the chicken.
  6. In a bowl, toss the potatoes, onion and garlic with olive oil so each piece is coated.
  7. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  8. (This is where I suggest something more, as few of us will find a genuinely "farm-raised" chicken. Use a good seasoning salt of your choice, and black pepper, as ordinary supermarket chickens can be very bland). Season well all over. (I would also season the cavity and then put in the lemon).
  9. Put the oil-coated veggies in a roasting pan and spread out. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. If you have a rack, put the chicken on it and jiggle things to fit over the potatoes and onion. Otherwise, just put the chicken right into the pan.
  11. Roast for about 1 hour (she says that, but I would roast it for not less than about 1 1/4 hours).
  12. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes. (I'd put it into a warming oven).
  13. Carve chicken into serving pieces, surround with the potatoes, onion and garlic, and squeeze the (baked) lemon over the top.
Most Helpful

5 5

This is so easy-to-fix, but classic for the genre. Without changing the heart of the recipe, I added to it by roasting 12 garlic cloves & including mushrooms + carrots. I roasted it for 1 1/2 hrs, but did tent it part of that time. Gravy is definitely not needed & a sinful waste IMO as the garlic-flavored & near-caramelized sauce of the veggies combined w/the chicken drippings made a rich au jus type sauce that was truly divine. We enjoyed this meal w/a German Riesling. Thx for sharing this excellent recipe w/us. :-) ~ *Edited to Add* ~ Forgot to say I used baby red potatoes, so did not cut them as directed & I also used toothpicks to secure the onion wedges which worked very well. :-)

5 5

Mmmm. Who doesn't love a recipe this easy and this good? The chicken came out wonderfully moist, and the potatoes soaked up the lemon and pan juices and got an incredible flavor. I appreciated the suggestion to use seasoned salt. I'm not sure exactly how long I cooked this, because I used a temperature probe. I also did peel the garlic. I agree with the other review that gravy is not needed; the pan juices are fabulous as is. We served this with a green salad. Thanks for posting!