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Roasted one-pot whole chicken dinner with spuds, peas, carrots and onions

A straightforward and traditional meal that tastes like home. Why not make it tonight?


Excerpted from Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss. Copyright © 2017 Jann Arden. Reprinted by permission of Random House Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited.



  • 1 large white onion (or whatever onion you happen to have on hand)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more as needed)
  • Salt and pepper and a pinch cayenne
  • 1 roasting chicken (they are usually between 3 and 4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning salt (your fave)
  • 3 whole garlic bulbs (yes, I mean the whole thing, not 3 cloves)
  • 1 cup frozen peas (or fresh, if you have them)


This couldn’t be more straightforward.

  1. Preheat your oven to 425˚F.
  2. Cut up the carrots, onions and potatoes in medium-sized chunks. Put half of them in the bottom of the pot. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and cayenne. Plunk the chicken on top of the veggies. (I rinse the chicken and pat it dry because that’s what Mom always  did.)
  3. Smother the bird with olive oil and rub in your seasoning salt and some  pepper.
  4. Stuff the rest of your veggies around the chicken, including the garlic with the tops of the bulbs cut off with a sharp knife. Don’t slice your fingers off as I have done several times.
  5. The pot I use belonged to my mom’s mom—it’s an oval ceramic pot that is stuffed to the hilt by the time I have everything in there. I can hardly get the lid on, so don’t worry if you think your pot is too full.
  6. Drizzle some more olive oil on the veggies and add a bit more salt, pepper and cayenne. Cover and put it in the oven for 45 minutes.
  7. Don’t worry about it, it’s fine.
  8. At the 45-minute mark, take the lid off and try not to burn the hair off your arms. I have done that a million times and I never seem to learn, but perhaps you will heed my warning. . . .
  9. Put the chicken back in the oven for 20 minutes. You can tell a chicken is cooked by looking at the legs (drumsticks)—if the skin has split away from the joint to the rest of the body, you’re in good shape. Throw in the peas in the last ten minutes. Your other veggies will be a little charred and broken down but that’s perfect! You can take a fork and pull at the flesh of the leg to make sure it pulls away easily.
  10. Do not take the chicken out of the pot. Take the whole pot out of the oven and let it sit for ten minutes and then cut it up IN the pot and get all the juices and the veggies mixed up in everything. It should just fall apart. You don’t have to do anything fancy with carving this thing, just cut or pull it into pieces, then dish it up with some of that roasted  garlic and the juices and veggies and call it dinner.
  11. Save the carcass for soup. I throw the whole thing in a resealable bag and use it later in the week.

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