Making healthy roasted chicken and root vegetables is so easy with a Cocorico Roaster. I love to use mine as an easy “one-pot” wonder that presents beautifully from oven-to table. The night before a long day, I can peel the veggies and add herbs so it only needs to put it in the oven for a hardy home-cooked meal. Larger roasters will also accommodate a small turkey for the holidays.
- 1 roasting chicken (or turkey, in a size that will fit your Cocorico roaster)
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 2 teaspoons rosemary
- 1 fresh lemon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- Olive oil (enough to coat chicken & drizzle a little over veggies)
Multicolored root vegetables in season (enough to fill the cocorico base):
- ~1 pound carrots
- ~3 beets
- ~2 parsnips
- ~1 bunch radishes
- ~1 or 2 pounds fingerling (or new) potatoes
- (& turnips if you have better luck than I did finding good ones)
Cocorico roasters in glazed terra cotta are available locally and online. I ordered mine from Napa Style because it was the biggest I’ve seen, and also had a larger turkey cone that fit over the chicken cone. Soak the whole thing under water at least 30 minutes before cooking. This prevents any heat damage to the vessel. I saturate mine in a bleached clean sink.
Preheat your oven to 400ᵒ, while you soak the roaster and prep your veggies. There are a beautiful variety of purple, orange, red, and white root vegetables available. Peel and cut them into about 2 inch chunks to ensure even cooking. Some recipes will advise you boil potatoes ahead of roasting, but I’ve found that to be completely unnecessary if you buy small fingerlings. They roast just like baked fries. They’re prettier, easier, and quicker… so save the big ones for baked potatoes. Radishes may seem like an odd choice for roasting, but they completely change character after cooking. They mellow out, losing their sharpness and spicy heat. I really do prefer them this way.
Place these in a bowl with herbs and add just the smallest drizzle of olive oil. (The chicken juices will flow over the veggies while cooking thus providing more flavor.) Squeeze a little of your lemon over the veggies, and save the rest to place inside the chicken cavity before setting over the roasting cone. Add sea salt and toss to coat everything well. This may be done ahead of time, just cover the bowl and refrigerate it until needed.
Many recipes will also instruct you to wash chicken inside and out before cooking, but I read a study that found it only served to spread dangerous bacteria all over your kitchen. Thorough cooking will kill bacteria while rinsing will not. Drain the fluid and remove any extra gifts left in the cavity (neck, gizzard, giblets). Then set the chicken onto the soaked Cocorico. Other recipes will also say to do this with the legs up and trussed, but this is really subjective to the size of your roasting cone versus the size of your bird. I used a smaller chicken in the pictures, which would have been physically impossible to set upside down. It cooked beautifully and tasted great. Just place the chicken whichever way you can get it onto the cone. It’s really hard to mess up dinner with a Cocorico!
Roast in the oven at 400ᵒ for about 15 minutes, and then reduce it to 375ᵒ for an hour longer (for ~4 lb chicken). Because every oven heats differently, the safest way to cook is with a meat thermometer. Place it in the thickest part of the thigh, but not to the bone. www.foodsafety.gov says 165ᵒ is poultry’s magic number! I’ve also read to rotate the Cocorico every 15 minutes. Thinking of how heavy it was, how that would let heat escape, what else I could spend my time accomplishing, and burn potential… I decided to forgo that. Once again, the simplest way proved itself. The chickens turned out exactly the same.
Use a serving spoon to gently toss the roasted veggies, so that the juices are fully distributed. It’s easiest to serve the veggies first and then carve into the meat, using the newly empty well to hold the pieces. Or it can all be transferred to other serving dishes… but I prefer to avoid washing extra tableware, and the filled Cocorico looks so lovely. If trying this, be sure to use adequate hot pads beneath it.
In the past, I’ve saved time by omitting the oil and placing the roots directly into the Cocorico. When it finished cooking, I would sprinkle fresh herbs and orange juice over the top, stirring it right in the roaster. Whichever way you chose to prepare it, with whatever vegetables, with either chicken or turkey, and legs cooked up or down… Cocorico roasters make it all turn out so beautifully! (See this for yourself at the link: Last Minute Cocorico Rooster Theme Dinner Party Décor Ideas.) So think about getting one for yourself, and leave the “beer-can chicken” to the tailgaters! 🙂