How to Roast a Heritage Chicken

Last Thanksgiving, I surveyed all my options and opted to purchase a heritage turkey instead of the typical grocery store turkey. Though it was slightly more expensive per pound, the flavor and sustainability aspects more than made up for it.


So imagine my delight when I found heritage breed chickens at the Farmer’s Market this weekend, which have many of the same benefits as a heritage turkey. The seller advised me to cook it at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time, which resulted in the perfect chicken.

This is by far my favorite way to prepare a whole chicken. The meat becomes tender, flavorful and rich. Instead of a roasting rack, I prop the chicken up on a bed of vegetables. The olive oil and chicken juices make the potatoes and carrots soft, browned and caramelized. Delectable.

Roasted Heritage Chicken

1 3-4 pound chicken
6-9 medium carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2-3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly-ground black pepper
1 lemon half or 4 cloves of garlic (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375F.


Layer the potatoes and carrots in the bottom of a large roasting pan. You should have one to three inches of vegetables at the bottom of the pan.  

Pour the olive oil into one small bowl and the salt and pepper into another. Once you start dealing with the raw chicken, you aren’t going to want to touch your bottle of oil or salt and pepper grinders!


Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Remove the bag of giblets from inside the chicken, if present.

Heritage-Chicken-2.jpg Heritage-Chicken-3.jpg

Rub the oil thoroughly over the chicken, then pat the salt and pepper mixture all over. Make sure to get the oil, salt and pepper inside the chicken as well. If you’d like, fill the cavity with cloves of garlic or half a lemon.


Place the chicken, breast side up, on top of the vegetables. Cover the roasting pan and roast at 375F for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. When the skin is golden and the temperature of the thigh is 170F, remove the pan from the oven.


Allow the chicken to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes before carving and serving the chicken with the potatoes and carrots.


  1. says

    This looks delicious, Julie!! I wanted to roast a chicken for this week’s Sunday dinner… your timing is perfect! 🙂

  2. says

    This looks like a great dinner for lots of guests. I have to remember this for the next time I have a group dinner!

  3. says

    Even though I’ve stopped eating meat, I still love the smell of roasting a chicken, and the whole idea in general. I’m glad I still have a meat loving family so I can fulfill that during the holidays.