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Roast chicken with root vegetables

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Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables
Serves 2, with possible leftovers

1 medium sweet potato (about 2 cups when peeled and cubed)
 2 large parsnips (about 1-1/2 to 2 cups when peeled and cubed)
 1 teaspoon water
 1 medium onion
 4 chicken thighs (or drumsticks or a mix)
 Olive oil
 2 cloves garlic, chopped
 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, roughly chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
 Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Peel the sweet potato and parsnip and cut into bite-sized chunks. Place in a microwave-safe lidded container with water. Microwave, with the lid slightly ajar or vent opened, for about 2 minutes. This will soften them slightly so they’ll be tender when everything is done roasting. Peel the onion, halve it lengthwise, then quarter the halves to produce eight big chunks.

Lightly oil the inside of a 9-×13-inch glass baking dish or roasting pan. Trim the chicken of excess fat, pat dry with paper towels and season on all sides with salt and pepper. Arrange in the baking dish.

In a large bowl, gently toss the sweet potato, parsnip, onion and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper. Take care not to rough up the onions and break them apart too much. The sweet potatoes will soak up oil, so use a slightly generous hand. Whatever you do, you won’t achieve an oily gloss on them. Don’t worry about it; the oil will still keep them from burning.

Arrange the root vegetable mixture around the chicken in the baking dish, making it a single layer as much as possible. Make sure nothing is covering the chicken, so that it can brown properly.

Roast on the center rack in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and has an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F. Baste chicken and vegetables with pan juices after 30 minutes or so, carefully tipping the pan to collect juices in one corner, if necessary. Baste every 15 minutes after that.

When chicken and vegetables are done, remove from oven and let rest in the baking dish for about 5 minutes before serving.

Looking for more ways to cook with root vegetables? Try Marion’s Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Root Vegetables, a delicious vegetarian main course, or my Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Shallots (and garlic, rosemary and cayenne pepper) or Potato Root Vegetable Mash-up with potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips.

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