Tiny Kitchen Recipes: Perfect roast chicken from The Kinfolk Table

Master the art of roasting a whole bird—and achieving juicy meat and crispy skin—with this foolproof recipe from Kinfolk magazine’s first cookbook

Photograph: Parker Fitzgerald

Welcome to Tiny Kitchen Recipes, a feature in which we ask chefs, writers, and food bloggers in New York City and beyond to share a recipe with us. Always wallet-friendly, these creations are feasible whether you live to cook or recently stopped using your oven for shoe storage. 

RECOMMENDED: All recipes from us

Last fall, the folks behind quarterly lifestyle journal Kinfolk released their first cookbook, a collection of recipes from 45 home chefs around the world that celebrate simple meals shared with others. This one, contributed by Frances Weston, a ceramicist based in Connecticut, is an unfussy dish that would work well for a small dinner party. We also like to roast our bird for a proper Sunday supper, then use the leftovers throughout the week in salads, sandwiches and the like.

Perfect roast chicken from The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings by Nathan Williams


- One 3 1/2– to 4-lb whole chicken, preferably organic 
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 pear
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 small bunch of fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary and tarragon
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 3 medium russet potatoes (about 24 oz), scrubbed and cut into 1 1/2–inch pieces
- 2 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
- 1 lb seasonal vegetables, peeled and cut into 1 1/2–inch pieces
- 3 tbsp olive oil

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400°F.  

Wash the chicken inside and out under cold running water, then thoroughly pat it dry with paper towels. Rub the cavity with 1 tbsp of the butter, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper, then insert the lemon, pear, garlic and herbs. 

Combine 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and the paprika in a small bowl and rub the mixture all over the chicken. Tuck the wings behind the chicken. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Arrange the chicken-breast side up in a 12-inch seasoned cast-iron skillet. Cut the remaining 2 tbsp butter into small pieces, and scatter them over the chicken. 

Arrange the potatoes, onions and vegetables around the chicken. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables, and season them with salt and pepper. 

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a thermometer inserted in the breast registers 150°F.  

Transfer the chicken to a carving board, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes prior to carving.  

Meanwhile, skim off the excess fat from the skillet, and serve the chicken and vegetables together with the pan juices.

Notes: An apple or pitted peach half can be added to the chicken cavity instead of the pear. The russet potatoes may be replaced with sweet potatoes. Save all leftover bones and vegetables for a beautiful stock.

Serves 4

Excerpted from The Kinfolk Table by Nathan Williams (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2013. Photographs by Parker Fitzgerald.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)


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