This Sunday dinner type recipe came from A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash by Lou Seibert Pappas. I was anxious to try it because it gave me an opportunity to use my convection oven - an appliance I've been ignoring since its installation in my kitchen two years ago. I also got to use this wildberries balsamic vinegar, which is simply wonderful. My skin browned a little faster than I would have wished, but the chicken and the sides of vegetables tasted great. Also my apples and onions needed radically different times to cook and I ended up with crunchy onions and mushy apples. Next time I will add the onions with the chicken and the pumpkin with the apples. There is also the problem of keeping the pumpkin and apples warm until serving time, since the chicken cooks for another 30 to 40 minutes. I would solve that problem by not adding them to the oven until the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes.
Lemon Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Pumpkin, Apples and Onions
1 whole frying chicken (31/2 to 4 pounds)
8 cloves garlic, slivered
1 lemon, halved and seeded
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 lbs pumpkin, cut into 1 1/2 inch squares, 1/2 inch thick
3 Granny Smith apples, cut into wedges
2 unpeeled Fuyu persimmons, cut into wedges
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1 head garlic
Wash and pat dry the chicken. Season the chicken lightly inside and out with sea salt. Loosen the breast skin with your fingers and insert the garlic underneath, distributing it evenly. Squeeze the lemon juice over the surface and tuck the lemon halves inside the cavity. Season inside and out with pepper. Place in a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (Use a convection oven if available.) Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and let it come to room temperature.
Combine the 2 tbsp oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin and toss lightly to coat. Arrange the pumpkin in the roasting pan around the chicken. Toss the apples, persimmon and onion in the remaining oil mixture and place in the prepared baking dish. Slice 1/4 inch of the top of the head of garlic; place on a small sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle lightly with oil. Wrap to enclose and place in the roasting pan with the chicken.
Roast the chicken and the apple-onion dish for 30 minutes. Check the apples and onions, testing for doneness by piercing with a knife. If tender, remove the apples and onions from the oven; if not, return to the oven and check frequently until done. continue to roast the chicken and pumpkin 30 to 40 minutes longer, or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh registers 175 degrees F. Transfer the chicken to a large platter and surround with pumpkin, apples, persimmon and onions; open the garlic packet, peel the cloves, and scatter around the platter. Carve the chicken and serve.