You put everything bagel seasoning on about everything. Now try it on this roast chicken.

A whole chicken is roasted with potatoes, and both are seasoned generously with everything bagel spice blend. Buy your favorite brand, or make it yourself with our recipe. Shannon Kinsella/food styling, plus photographer Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune/TNS

You’ve heard it before. Roast chicken truly is one of the easiest main courses to cook and the most versatile. You can dress it up or down.

Armed with just the two basic ingredients, chicken and salt, I’ve cooked fryer and roaster birds in ovens big and small, decrepit and new, countertop and mammoth professionals. Before we had kids, I roasted chickens in an ancient gas range in our city apartment during renovations. After a day of hanging drywall and grouting tile, we created a makeshift table from wooden sawhorses and a plank of paneling. Then, we enjoyed a bird coated in curry paste accompanied by a green salad and crusty bread.

When the children were little, we roasted simply seasoned chickens in a trusty almond-colored Sears range for birthday celebrations. Whole chicken also was the first dish we cooked after moving into our suburban family home. I cooked it in a tired-looking kitchen with an oven prone to losing its door. No matter, the chicken emerged juicy and the house smelled like home.

Our beautifully renovated kitchen yielded countless chicken dinners with young teens, extended family, friends, and recently, our first grandchild.

This month, we will move from that home of 20 years. I roasted a chicken in the sleek, much-beloved Wolf range as our last meal there — complete with a flavorful coating on the skin and a tray of like-seasoned vegetables. We couldn’t gather the family, but comfort ensued.


My roasting pans already rest in their new cabinet in preparation for our first roast chicken dinner in the wall oven at our new townhome. I plan to open the windows to let the aromas escape so our new neighbors get a true sense of our style.

These days, whole chickens can be easier to procure than boneless chicken parts. Adjust the cooking time for the size chicken you can find. A 3-pound bird cooks in 50 to 60 minutes. Larger chickens, closer to 5 pounds need about 1 1/4 hours at 400 degrees. When done, the juices should run clear when you pierce the thigh with the tip of a knife.

All in all, the only real trick to roasting chickens? Heat. For golden skin, turn on the convection setting on the oven, if it’s available. Or, fully heat a conventional oven to 400 degrees. Keep the heat high during the complete cook time.

Chicken roasted plainly with just salt tastes fantastic. For variety, I add herbs and spices. This spring, my fascination with everything bagel seasoning mix — that blend trend that took off in recent years — inspired a coating for chicken and vegetables. A bit of smoked paprika, dried basil and oregano adds color and flavor.

After the chicken is in the oven, I prepare vegetables to roast alongside. In the recipe that follows, I add small new potatoes to the chicken pan part-way through the cooking. That way they can roll around and absorb the flavorful pan juices.

A sheet pan or two of eggplant, zucchini, peppers and onions makes a great accompaniment to the chicken. I make enough for leftovers for another dinner or to serve with eggs for brunch. Season the vegetables with the same blend of spices as you used for the chicken.

The pan juices from the chicken taste amazing. Spoon the mixture over the carved chicken for a rich, but simple topping. I also like to save them to stir into a bowl of hot, cooked egg noodles (or rice) with shreds of the chicken and a heaping spoonful of the roasted vegetables.

Roast chicken. Family comfort for any home.



Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Makes: 6 servings

Look for everything bagel seasoning mix in the spice aisle of most grocery stores; see the note below to make your own version. Check chicken cavities to be sure they are empty. If it comes with the neck and gizzards, set them in a deep saucepan of water and simmer an hour or so to make a light broth for another use. Sear the liver in a small skillet with a little oil and butter and serve on a piece of toast for a cook’s treat.

  • 1 whole chicken, about 5 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons everything bagel seasoning mix, see note
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds petite red or small gold potatoes (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter)
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, or minced chives or a combination

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees on convection or 400 degrees conventional. Put seasoning mix, paprika, basil and oregano into a small bowl.
2. Pat chicken dry. Tuck wings behind back. Place back side up in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle chicken generously with one-third of the seasoning mixture. Turn chicken breast side up and sprinkle with another one-third of seasoning. Drizzle chicken with olive oil.

3. Roast chicken, 25 minutes. Add potatoes to pan and roll them around in the pan juices. Sprinkle potatoes with remaining seasoning mixture. Continue roasting, stirring potatoes every 20 minutes or so, until potatoes are tender, the chicken is golden and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced, about 50 minutes more.

4. Gently transfer potatoes to a bowl. Put chicken on a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest about 10 minutes. Scrape the pan juices into a bowl (or save them for serving over buttered noodles or rice).

5. Carve the chicken into serving portions. Serve with a drizzle of pan juices and some potatoes. Sprinkle with chopped herbs.


Nutrition information per serving: 652 calories, 34 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 158 mg cholesterol, 19 g carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 51 g protein, 640 mg sodium, 2 g fiber

Homemade everything bagel seasoning mix: In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, put 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon coarse (kosher) salt, 1 tablespoon minced dried garlic, 1 tablespoon minced dried onion, 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (or more regular sesame seeds) and 2 teaspoons poppy seeds. Shake well. Keeps almost forever.


Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes

Makes: 6 servings

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons everything bagel seasoning mix, see note
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 eggplant, about 1 pound, ends trimmed
  • 1 large or 2 medium sweet onions, halved, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 or 4 small zucchini, ends trimmed
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, dill, chives

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees on convection or 400 degrees conventional. Put seasoning mix, paprika, basil and oregano into a small bowl.
2. Cut eggplant into 1-inch-thick rounds. Cut the rounds into 1-inch pieces. Place on an oiled sheet pan. Add half of the onion. Sprinkle with half of the seasoning mix and oil. Toss to coat well.

3. Slice zucchini into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Put onto a second sheet pan. Add remaining onion and the bell pepper pieces. Sprinkle with remaining seasoning mix and oil.

4. Roast vegetables, stirring every 10 minutes and rotating pans if your oven doesn’t brown evenly, until fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven; combine the contents of the two pans on one pan or in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with herbs and serve hot or at room temperature.


Nutrition information per serving: 111 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 8 g carbohydrates, 4 g sugar, 1 g protein, 244 mg sodium, 3 g fiber

The roast chicken and roast vegetables can be combined for a third dish by tossing them together and serving over egg noodles, with a healthy dose of the pan juices from roasting the bird. Shannon Kinsella/food styling, plus photographer Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune/TNS


Prep 10 minutes

Cook 10 minutes

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 bag (12 ounces) wide egg noodles
  • 2 or 3 cups everything bagel roasted vegetables, see recipe
  • 2 or 3 cups shredded boneless, skinless chicken (from everything bagel roasted chicken)
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil OR 1/4 cup pan juices from roasted chicken
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh chives or green onion tops

1. Heat a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add noodles and cook until al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain well. Return to the pot.
2. Stir in the vegetables and shredded chicken. Warm gently over low heat while tossing with oil or pan juices. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with chives.

Note: The ingredients in this recipe are too variable for accurate nutritional analysis.

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