Julia Child’s Favorite Roast Chicken

Roasting a chicken with vegetables to perfection is an art, according to the legendary New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse. “I have a cast-iron vertical chicken roaster, but I’ve also used a basic roasting pan that I’ll line with my potatoes and root vegetables,” says Lagasse. The key to a perfect roast chicken is ensuring that the vegetables cook evenly and that the chicken is seasoned thoroughly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making Julia Child’s favorite roast chicken, inspired by Emeril Lagasse’s tips.


1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2-3 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, quartered

1 lemon, halved
1 orange, halved (optional)
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1. Preheat the Oven
Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).

2. Prepare the Vegetables
In a large roasting pan, arrange the potato chunks, carrots, parsnips, and onion quarters. If the root vegetables are large, cut them into smaller pieces or blanch them briefly to ensure they cook evenly.

3. Season the Chicken
Rinse the chicken inside and out under cold running water and pat it dry with paper towels. Rub the outside of the chicken with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and orange (if using) over the chicken.

4. Add Herbs and Citrus
Season the chicken generously with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Rub the seasoning thoroughly into the skin. Place the lemon and orange halves, along with the sprigs of thyme and rosemary, inside the cavity of the chicken.

5. Position the Chicken
Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan. If using a vertical chicken roaster, position the chicken on it and place it in the center of the roasting pan surrounded by the vegetables.

6. Roast the Chicken
Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the chicken. The chicken is done when the skin is golden brown, and the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 165°F (74°C).

7. Rest and Serve
Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it moist and flavorful. Serve the roast chicken with the roasted vegetables on the side.

Tips for Perfect Roast Chicken
Vegetables: Cut the root vegetables into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking. Blanching large pieces can help them cook through without burning.
Seasoning: Be generous with the seasoning. Rubbing the herbs and spices into the chicken skin enhances the flavor.
Citrus: Adding citrus inside the cavity and squeezing juice on the outside adds a fresh, tangy flavor that complements the savory seasonings.
By following these steps, you can create a delicious, perfectly roasted chicken with vegetables that would make Julia Child proud. This dish is not only a comforting classic but also a great way to bring family and friends together around the dinner table. Enjoy!