roast chicken dinner & a trip to the farm

roast chicken dinner & a trip to the farm |

We live 10 minutes away from a chicken farm.

Whenever I tell people that, they think our house is out in the country somewhere with no internet. It’s not. Although I wouldn’t mind living in the country (I’d trade in heels for hiking boots any day), we reside in suburbia-land a stone’s throw away from Target, Starbucks, and Home Goods.

Nestled in-between is a small family owned farm.

They have some of the best organic chicken in the world.

Their chicken is so tender you can cut it with a fork! I’m not kidding. It’s like filet mignon.

And at least once a week, I take a quick trip with the boys. I grab dinner while they play.

roast chicken dinner & a trip to the farm | theclevercarrot.comroast chicken dinner & a trip to the farm |

And when I say ‘play’ I mean terrorize.

The minute their boots hit the ground, they run around like maniacs screaming and yelling at everything in their path. The chickens freak out, the sheep bolt, and I’ve never seen a duck swim away so fast in my life.


roast chicken dinner & a trip to the farm |

The farm sells all kinds of stuff: organic chicken, turkey, grass fed beef, fresh fruit, vegetables, pies and the most delicious eggs. It’s heaven. And, if you happen to pop in on a day when they’re roasting their famous whole chickens, you (and your jacket) will come out smelling like a rotisserie.

As much I love the farm, it can be expensive. So, I’ve tried to come up with ways to afford it without going broke.

At first, I cut back on meat altogether. Because that’s what ‘they’ say to do.

Total fail.

Because if you read my last post, this does not jive with carnivores.

Boys, care for some veggie tacos for dinner tonight?

roast chicken dinner & a trip to the farm |

Um, no.

So, then I started to buy inexpensive cuts such as legs and thighs. And that worked for a while. But let’s face it- most people want chicken breast which is the most expensive cut of all!

The compromise?

Chicken breast on the bone.

This cut is usually half the price when compared to boneless chicken breast, so that’s a huge savings right there. The bone keeps the meat extra juicy and adds a touch more flavor, in my opinion. I like it with the skin on so that it doesn’t dry out- it’s like a blanket (easy enough to remove if you don’t want to eat it). However, if I’m in the mood for chicken cutlets or anything else off the bone, I’ll de-bone the chicken prior cooking.

How do you do that?

I had no clue at first. I would literally run my knife around the bone until the meat separated. And watch YouTube videos…

De-boning a chicken might sound like a lot of work, and yes, it is one extra step.

But it’s a two-for-one deal: you get to eat your boneless chicken breast (savings) and make stock with the leftover bones (more savings). I know not everyone makes their own stock. And that’s fine. But I think everyone should try it at least once in their life. It’s liquid gold!

The extra time I put in now will bail me out later when I really need it.

roast chicken dinner & a trip to the farm | theclevercarrot.comroast chicken dinner & a trip to the farm |

For this chicken dinner, I multitask.

I start by browning the chicken to render out any fat and to make the skin crispy. Sprigs of woodsy thyme are added to the pan to infuse the oil. Simultaneously, diced potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and a handful of unpeeled garlic cloves roast in the oven. They need a head start before the chicken goes in.

And here’s what I do with the garlic-

Instead of peeling them, they bake inside of their papery white skins leaving you with a soft, mild flavored nugget of goodness. You can squeeze this onto your chicken or bread, if you have any (you won’t have dragon breath, promise). Plus, you don’t have to chop anything! Combined with fresh thyme the smell is out-of-this-world.

I also add chunks of feta and drizzle everything with a lemon vinaigrette before serving.

roast chicken dinner & a trip to the farm |

I’m incredibly lucky to have access to such great organic chicken. I’m happy to support my local farm while feeding my family the good stuff. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And this is how I do it.

Do you have any local favorites in your neighborhood?

Kitchen Notes:

  • Use a large roasting pan for this recipe (bigger than 9 x 13). The extra space will allow everything to caramelize instead of steam. You don’t want a watery roast!

roast chicken dinner & a trip to the farm
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 4 bone in chicken breasts (with skin)
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, left whole
  • 5 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 10 baby zucchini, sliced in half or 1-2 zucchini cut into large chunks
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup feta (I used block feta, Bulgarian)
  • coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup olive oil
Tip: Use a large roasting pan for this recipe (bigger than 9 x 13). The extra space will allow everything to caramelize instead of steam. You don't want a watery roast!
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F. Grab a skillet and a large roasting pan.
  2. To a large bowl, add the potatoes, tomatoes and garlic cloves. Drizzle with a good coating of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread onto your roasting pan and pop in the oven. They will begin to roast while you make the rest of the dish.
  3. Meanwhile, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot add the chicken to the pan. Then throw in about 5 thyme sprigs to infuse the oil. Brown the meat, about 3-4 minutes on each side. You want skin nice and crispy. Transfer the chicken to a plate as you work.
  4. Open the oven and give your potatoes a toss. Add the zucchini, and nestle the chicken in-between the vegetables. Break the feta into large chunks (without crumbling too much) and add to the pan.
  5. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is juicy and cooked through.
  6. While that's cooking, quickly make the vinaigrette. Add the lemon juice and mustard to a small bowl and whisk well. Stream in the olive oil to emulsify and season with salt and pepper.
  7. When you're ready to eat, serve your chicken directly in the roasting pan with a little vinaigrette drizzled over the top. Have extra on the side too!



  1. says

    I too am a fan of breast on the bone, thanks to the professings of Ina. How much fun is it to show your little maniacs where their food comes from, and it isn’t drive thru? Small farms, fruit stands and the like are the norm in Utah and we have a ton of small artisan food businesses too, including some who have gone on to national acclaim like Creminelli Sausages and Beehive Cheese. Local is good, and often times better.

    • Emilie says

      Ah, too funny! I totally get the Ina reference. I really do enjoy showing the little ones where their food comes from, even if they terrorize everything in their path. How old are your children, Heidi? And now that the weather is warming up I bet your local fruit and veg stands are beginning to open. It’s like that here! Can’t wait for summer and my CSA! You know, I’ve heard of Creminelli Sausage but have never tried it. You lucky girl ;)

  2. nancyabc says

    In the Cincinnati area we have a great many places for fresh through store bought.
    One great fresh place is Findlay Market or very unusual grocery store Jungle Jim’s.
    It has food from all over the world–you should go on line and check it out–this is one crazy guy.

    • Emilie says

      Hi Nancy! That sounds so interesting- I love unusually grocery stores. I can get lost for hours in those types of places, online and in person. You know, I think I will go check it out online. Thanks for the tip!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Megan! Absolutely! It’s a great midweek meal (I think anything cooked on one pan fits the bill!). And you can even switch up the veg based on what you have- sweet potatoes, sweet red bell peppers etc. It’s all good. Enjoy!

  3. says

    Oh, I love this recipe ….and of course your photos are fabulous! A whole roast chicken is one of my specialties: I have to say, it is to die for! So this is right up my alley. And I bet the kitchen/house smells just wonderful while this is baking. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Libby, thank you! Oh, the smell is fantastic. But if only I could contain the aroma- I’ve learned to shut all the bedroom doors upstairs so that the whole house doesn’t smell like a rotisserie!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Celia! Yes, we are extremely lucky. This place is a hidden gem. But I’m sure your version will be just as good- I hope you like the recipe ;)

  4. says

    Just beautiful Emilie ~ I’m really enjoying the personal photography I’ve been seeing in your last few posts ;-). That photo of the canard (too early to think of English word) in the water is a stunner. And your boys… you are bringing me back down memory lane with those huge smiles and boyhood shenanigans. Your roast chicken looks like perfection. Love all the tips to economize time and money — agreed, on the homemade stock. So many great ideas here. You know what I also love is cooking the veggies alongside the chicken in the same pan ~ everything comes together in one delicious, fragrant (and beautiful) mess.

    • Emilie says

      Oh, thank you so much Kelly. I struggle with using photos of myself both technically and personally (maybe one day I’ll actually include my head!). It’s a work in progress. I enjoy the creative process. Glad you like the recipe too- it’s very flexible and great for when you need to throw something together quickly. Use whatever you have.

      As for the boys, I always look forward to your stories as I know mine will eventually grow up into young men! xoxo

  5. celia says

    Goodness that looks good! I love the addition of feta and roasted garlic! Do you know, being Chinese, the breast meat in our house was always discarded, and the thighs, drums and wings were hotly contested? :) Out of curiosity, are the organic chickens free range as well? How great to have the farm just ten minutes away!

    • Emilie says

      That’s too funny- I think it’s the exact opposite here although I do know many people who enjoy dark meat, us included! Do try the roasted garlic and feta- you’ll love it. It takes no effort at all.

      The chickens are organic, free range. They have turkeys, capons and lamb as well. All excellent. I have to say, the chicken and turkey is probably the best I’ve ever had. It tastes incredibly fresh and I’ve only come to realize this when I switch back to grocery store meat. I’m forever spoiled. The kids love it too. xoxo

  6. says

    What a great outing for the boys and so close to home! Roast chicken is a fav and I often buy the chicken from the farmer. It really is head and shoulders above any thing else tastewise…expensive but worth it. Your recipe and photos are fabulous as always…xo

    • Emilie says

      Thank you Laney! Yes, it is quite pricey but so worth it. I just cut back on other stuff so we can enjoy it more often! xo

  7. says

    I am not a carnivore, but I totally respect anyone who eat meat buying from a small farm when they can. That is how it should be! I love that your kids know where there food is coming from, which is more than I can say about a lot of kids/parents I know.
    And these photos are so gorgeous! My goodness, it’s an art.

    • Emilie says

      So sweet of you to say, Kristie. Thank you. We try the best we can over here to eat locally sourced products- it’s full of good energy which is something I love. I do hope it all sinks in with my kids somehow. You never know what makes an impression. But we’re certainly enjoying the journey (muddy farm boots and everything). xo

  8. Ruby88 says

    Your boys are so fortunate to see their Mom buy from a local farm. The duck swimming away is so funny! Great photos!

    • Emilie says

      That duck swam for his life! It was very funny actually. I do hope these life lessons resonate with the boys somehow. Thank you Ruby! xo

  9. Renata says

    Hi there! Yesterday I received an unexpected friend for lunch and applied the entire garlic tip to my roasted potatoes (also with thyme and rosemary). OMG! So tender, so sweet, so good! :-) Thank you!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Renata! That’s fantastic! Doesn’t it taste nice and sweet when roasted this way? It’s a completely different flavor than sliced or minced garlic. Thank you so much for stopping by with your feedback- love it!

  10. says

    Such a lovely dinner! There are a few organic farms on the outskirts of the city by me, and when I get the chance I do love to go and pick up things right from the farm rather than the grocery store. You’re so lucky to live so close to a farm, without needing to be in a rural area! We end up stocking up whenever organic meats are on sale. Today we purchased a whole chicken for roasting for under $7 (crazy!). I love your idea of adding fennel and lemon vinaigrette to the tray before serving – I bet it’s delicious!

  11. says

    Always, your photography is an inspiration… the Mallard, your boys in their boots, teaching your kids where their food comes from (such a valuable lesson and one so few have the opportunity to know). Beautiful. Having access to a local farm is heaven, in my book. We have three, within 2 miles of our home, and the farmers market is within walking distance. Spring, summer and fall, I visit two of the farms, farm stand’s and then go to the market if needed. It’s all veggies and eggs. I did purchase a CSA, and that’ll be starting up in May. I found the CSA to be very affordable. Our farmers offer a pretty nice discount to those who purchase early; I took advantage of it! So much inspiration. Thank you for sharing your farm experience, Emilie!

  12. Tessa says

    Oh yum! This looks so good I actually bought all the ingredients today and I’m going to make it in Monday I’m excited! I’m always looking for new chicken recipes because it’s such a staple in our house! I didn’t buy cherry tomatoes because I happen to have a bunch of tomatoes from my parents garden so I’ll be using those instead, can’t beat homegrown tomatoes! :) Oh and I bought 2 large chicken breasts with the ribs attached, that means leftovers, yay, lol! I have 2 kids (5&3) and a husband to feed, so we’ll see how it goes, lol! Hope everyone likes it!

  13. Sal says

    Spectacular. The post was almost as beautiful as the chicken it taught me to make. We have found out as well that bone-in skin-on chicken breasts far outdo the regular boneless and skinless. They pack a ton more flavor and don’t just shrivel up into dry little things. Whee its exciting to hear it from someone else!

  14. Jenny says

    Do you think carrots or celery would work as well? My husband is not a fan of zucchini. This looks wonderful and can’t wait to make this tonight!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Jenny! Absolutely, carrots would be a great substitution. Just make sure to cut them on the small side, so everything will cook evenly at the same time. Enjoy!

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