I make this whole roasted chicken every other week, rotating the vegetables with whatever happens to be in season. It’s just a really great all-around rotiserrie style chicken dinner that comes together in one pot.
My favorite tool for the job is a 5.5 quart circular Dutch oven because it easily accommodates a standard 4 to 5 pound bird.
One of the most challenging aspects of cooking whole poultry well is preventing it from drying out while waiting for the skin to get crispy.
That’s because skin-on chicken is often “ready” before the skin has a chance to crisp up (meaning it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F). That’s why I included this helpful radish technique in chapter 5 of my new book Easy Dutch Oven Cooking.
Why I Recommend Roasting Whole Chicken Over Radishes
My number 1 tip for cooking poultry perfectly is to place it on top of a high-water content vegetable; Radishes, potatoes, and fennel all work great. What this does is allow steam from the vegetables to mist the chicken throughout the cooking process, imparting flavor and moisture.
By the same token, the basting of moisture facilitated by the tall sides of your Dutch oven allows the very top section of skin to get nice and crunchy.
It’s basically like a mini-convection oven: It circulates heat evenly, similar to a rotisserie oven.
Rest that Chicken: Once the chicken is removed from the oven, be sure to let it sit for 15 minutes for maximum moisture retention. Cutting the chicken prematurely will cause the juices to flow out.
Don’t Discard those Radish Greens
Using the flavorful pan juices, I like to stuff the tops of the radishes (the greens) around the chicken hot out of the oven. This gives you flavorful, wilted greens in mere minutes.
When serving the chicken, I like to place some of the braised radishes with the greens on the plate and drizzle pan juices on top. The liquid in the bottom of the Dutch oven is full of flavor and provides an instant sauce!
Stuffing the Chicken with Aromatics
Even though this is a simple dish, it’s all about the details. You get a lot of bang for your buck, when you take the time to stuff the cavity (even the skin) with aromatic ingredients. Here are some of my favorites:
- garlic (use in the cavity or stuff right under the skin)
- onions: green, red, white, yellow
- fresh herbs: chives, parsley, dill, mint
Storing Leftovers in the Dutch Oven
What’s great about cooking in your Dutch oven is that you can easily use it as a storage vessel. I like to store the entire chicken in the fridge for up to 4 days. My best advice is to allow the Dutch oven to cool at least 20 minutes before placing in the refrigerator.
Make Ahead Tips
If prepping this recipe in advance of company, you could prepare the entire recipe up to 1 day in advance. Simply pop the Dutch oven in the oven when company arrives, and you have a hot meal in about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Since a 4-pound chicken feeds 2, I recommend at least a 5-pound chicken or consider including some side dishes.
Best Sides for A Family Meal
- Herb Infused Mashed Potatoes
- Smoked Salmon Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing (tip: if serving with chicken, you can leave the salmon out and just have a nice, vibrant salad)
- Finely chopped kale with my Essential Lemon Dressing and Romano cheese
- Irish Soda Bread
*While a 4 1/2 pound chicken will be fully cooked at 1 hour and 15 minutes, a meat thermometer is the best way to test your chicken (especially if you use a larger chicken or have a smaller Dutch oven than mine).
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Roast Whole Chicken Over Radishes
- 5-7 quart Dutch Oven
- 2 bunches whole radishes
- 3 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 4- to 4 1/2-pound whole chicken
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 scallions rinsed, roots trimmed off
- 1 lemon quartered
- Prepare the radishes. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wash and trim the radish greens and set them aside for later. Halve the radish roots lengthwise and spread them out in a Dutch oven. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Season and stuff the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then brush it all over with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the entire chicken with salt and pepper, and place it on top of the radishes in the Dutch oven. Fold the scallions and stuff them and the lemon inside the chicken's cavity.
- Roast and serve the chicken. Roast the chicken, uncovered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the juices run clear and an instant read thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of a breast. Remove the pot from the oven. While the chicken is hot, stuff the reserved radish greens in the pot around the chicken to steam; let rest for 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Carve and serve it with the wilted radish greens, pan juices, and roasted radishes.
What if my Dutch oven is too small?If your Dutch oven is too small to accommodate a whole chicken, you could use a cornish hen and decrease the cooking time. You could also break the chicken down into sections and roast them on top of the radishes until they reach 165°F.
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