Fed Up is a new documentary that asks why obesity and disease rates have skyrocketed in the U.S., most alarmingly in children and even for newborns. Produced by Laurie David, who also produced the Academy Award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, a major message of the film is that many of our health problems are rooted in our collective disengagement in the kitchen, opting for processed foods instead.
David also wrote The Family Cooks, a new cookbook that offers solutions to the problems raised in the film, in the form of recipes and tips for families wanting to cook healthy and approachable meals and snacks.
This recipe for roasted chicken is a great weeknight staple for busy families looking to get more involved in cooking wholesome foods and for those who already have.
An interview with Laurie David and the director of Fed Up Stephanie Soechtig will air this Saturday at 11:00 AM on Good Food on 89.9 KCRW.
makes 4 to 6 servings
PREP TIME: 20 minutes ROASTING TIME: 50 minutes to 1 hour
Roasted chicken and potatoes that are fragrant with garlic and lemon … on a weeknight? Yes! Your butcher is the key to making this speedy version of the weekend staple. Ask him or her kindly to butterfly the chicken (or see directions below), so it can roast faster by lying flat on the baking sheet. Buy an organic chicken whenever possible–they’re happier, healthier, much tastier, and worth every extra cent. The earlier you salt the chicken (even as far as a day or 2 in advance), the moister and more flavorful it will be. You can also cheat and get a kosher chicken, which has already been salted.
The beauty of this recipe is that it only requires your attention for a few minutes. Lay the chicken on a bed of potatoes, garlic, and lemons and pop it in the oven. After that, you can leave it alone while you call your kids to set the table, make a salad, and catch up on your family’s day.
One 3-pound chicken, preferably organic and free-range, butterflied (see Cook’s Tip)
Olive oil for the baking sheet, plus 11/2 tablespoons for the bird
1 pound small potatoes * (unpeeled), halved or quartered
8 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
1 lemon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1. Sprinkle the chicken with 2 teaspoons salt as soon as you get it home.
2. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with oil.
3. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, a goodly sprinkle of salt, the garlic, and the lemon slices. Arrange them on the center of the baking sheet and slide it into the oven for a few minutes.
4. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels . Rub all over with olive oil and, if you did not do so earlier, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt.
5. Remove the potatoes from the oven and arrange the chicken on top of them, tucking any stray potatoes and garlic under the chicken to prevent them from burning. Roast until the juices run clear when the joint between thigh and the drumstick is pricked with a knife, or when a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest and return the potatoes to the oven to crisp up, 5 to 10 minutes more.
6. Cut the chicken in half along the breast, then cut each breast in half and divide the legs into thighs and drumsticks. Arrange the potatoes on a platter, top with the chicken pieces, and squeeze a few of the roasted lemon slices over it all.