Homecoming Chicken

Preparation info

  • Serves

    3 to 4

Appears in

Everything on the Table

Everything on the Table

By Colman Andrews

Published 1992

  • About

When I set off on one of my eating trips, the meal I look forward to the most has nothing to do with my favorite restaurants in Basel Barcelona, or wherever. The meal I look forward to the most is the dinner that my wife inevitably cooks for me the night I get home. It is always the same—chicken roasted with carrots, shallots, garlic, and potatoes—and it is always superb. It is also, incidentally, a dish that can rest in the oven for an hour or two after cooking (which comes in handy if my plane is late or the Customs hall at LAX is even more of a bordel than usual).


  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 3 ½- to 4-pound roasting chicken*
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lemon
  • 4 medium-small White Rose potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into sticks about 3″ long and ½ thick
  • 4 shallots, peeled and separated into cloves
  • 1 cup dry, full-bodied white wine*


Preheat oven to 400°.

Place rosemary sprigs in cavity of chicken. With fingers, separate breast skin from breasts and push minced garlic under skin, spreading it around as evenly as possible. Rub surface of chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle with herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Squeeze lemon juice over top of chicken.

Lightly oil a lidded cast iron or other metal roasting pan just large enough to hold the chicken with an inch or so of space around the edges. Distribute potatoes, carrots, and shallots around the roasting pan, then place chicken, skin side up, on top of them.

Roast chicken, uncovered, for 1 hour, basting it with pan juices after 20 minutes. After another 20 minutes, pour wine over chicken. At the end of 1 hour, baste again with the combined wine and pan juices.

Turn off the oven, cover roasting pan tightly, and let chicken sit in the oven for at least ½ hour, but for as long as 2 hours if necessary.

* “Use a perfect chicken,” warns my wife. “A really, really good one. Otherwise it will get tough.”
* “The one you’re drinking while waiting for your husband to get home,” my wife notes.
“If you leave it in the oven for an hour or two,” adds my wife, “the chicken is obviously going to be very well done. But it won’t dry out, and will still taste very good.”