Maple Roast Chicken

3 – 3 1/2 lb. free-range chicken*
3/4 c. real maple syrup†
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon peanut oil
Kosher or coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

6 small white boiling onions, peeled
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
8 small white potatoes, scrubbed but left whole with skins on

* I think free-range is really the only way to go because the birds have more flavor. And as my acupuncturist once told me, they have better "energy" because they lived happy lives, hanging around outdoors as chickens should, not all cooped up, unable to move. That gives them bad energy, and you don't want to eat meat with bad energy, do you?

† I am partial to Vermont maple syrup, but as long as you get the authentic stuff, and non of that phony corn syrup with maple flavoring, I'll be happy.

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Rinse and dry your chicken, and salt and pepper liberally inside and out. Cut off the last wing joint and throw away. Truss your chicken.

(Step 2 is from Tom Colicchio’s wonderful book, Think Like a Chef, which I love love love!)

2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy ovenproof skillet (note: I used a roasting pan for this because I added vegetables) over medium heat until it moves easily across the pan. Place the chicken on its side in the pan and brown, about 7 minutes. Turn and brown the other side, about 7 minutes more. Place the chicken breast-side up.

3. While you are browning the chicken, warm the butter and maple syrup in a sauce pan over low heat until the butter is melted.

4. Spread vegetables in roasting pan around chicken. Pour some of the maple butter mixture over the veggies to coat. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes, then baste chicken with maple butter sauce. Continue to for about 30 more minutes, basting occasionally, until thigh juices run clear. Remove the chicken from oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil, letting it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. During this time, return the veggies to the oven so they can finish roasting. Remove vegetables from oven.

5. Carve chicken and serve with vegetables on the side. YUM!

NOTE: I totally cheated when I did this and used up the maple butter early on, so I made more and kept coating the chicken. The skin was sweet and yummy, the vegetables nicely caramelized. Use the above amounts as a starting point and then use your judgment. Obviously you don’t want everything swimming in syrup, but if you need more, you need more!