Chitlins. Real talk: This weather? I can’t. Seriously. What the heck is going on? It snows, it rains, it snows, it’s freezing rain, it’s warm as heck, and then it snows. I mean, I’m a born and bred New Englander and I swear, I cannot recall a winter like this one in ages. Granted, I don’t have the best memory (hello, high school? Don’t remember you. That’s okay, though).
Anyhoodle, while I’m by turns sweating and freezing I figure I might as well make one thing that is simple and straight forward: a butt ton of roasted winter vegetables. First of all, I am 100 percent a root vegetables gal. Let’s be real, they’re all basically starches, with a few extra vitamins thrown in for good measure. Starches and me are BFFs, though I’m still waiting for my metabolism to get with the party.
The best thing about root veggies is that they take minimal work to prepare. Most of the time you spend making this dish is washing and chopping. And if you have a fancy cuisinart with a slicer blade, or a mandolin, more power to yah, your time was just cut in half! No, for reals. I mean seriously, this dish is idiot-proof.
First let’s talk veggies. For this dish I used shallots, carrots, parsnips (which I always want to call turnips, what??), Brussels sprouts (hello lover), and baby red potatoes. You could just as easily have added any squash, turnips, beets, or cabbage. Infinitely customizable. Then you either pile it into a dutch oven or spread it out over a baking sheet and top with some good ol’ Italian spices (thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper). THEN! You layer it with bacon. Not the cooked kind either. The fat from the bacon is going to be your roasting grease. For the dutch oven I added some chicken thigh meat with the skin still on and some skinless breast meat with MOAR BAKON just cuz. The fat rendered from the chicken skin and bacon will help cook the veggies below it.
Then you throw it in the oven, go watch Downton Abbey, poke and turn the veggies during the commercial breaks, and 1 hour later you have bacon roasted veggies, two hours later you have chicken and roasted veggies. No muss, no fuss. Leftovers for a whole week (goes great on salads, or rolled up in a tortilla with some parmesan and harvati for quesadillas, throw it on some noodles with chicken broth for some soup, etc.)
*Just a Note: This recipe is the full recipe to cook the veggies two ways. If you only want to roast with bacon or roast with chicken cut the recipe in half. Please note the bacon is used in both recipes. This recipe will not work with turkey bacon as it does not have enough fat. For a vegetarian alternative add 1/4 cup vegetable broth to the dutch oven to roast, and toss the vegetables on the baking sheet with 2 -3 tbsp olive oil.
- 2 bunches of carrots, washed, peeled and roughly chopped into ¼" - ½" discs
- 4 large parsnips, washed, peeled and roughly chopped into ¼" - ½" discs
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts, washed and quartered, tough outer leaves removed
- 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
- 1 lb baby red potatoes, washed and quartered
- 10 slices of bacon, divided
- 2 pieces chicken thigh meat with skin still on
- 2 pieces of skinless chicken breasts
- 3 tsp thyme
- 3 tsp rosemary
- 3 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with a silpat.
- Line the bottom of a dutch oven with the chopped shallots.
- Layer in half the chopped carrots, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, and potatoes.
- Spread the remaining half the vegetables over the baking sheet in an even layer.
- In a small bowl mix together the spices. Sprinkle half evenly over both sets of veggies and toss lightly to combine.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste over vegetables as well.
- Place the 4 pieces of chicken over the top the vegetables in the dutch oven, alternating thigh and breast meat. Rub salt and pepper into the thigh meat.
- Cover both breasts (*snicker*) with two slices of bacon each, making sure the top is fully covered.
- Layer the remaining bacon over the vegetables on the roasting pan.
- Place the dutch oven on the top rack and baking pan on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Toss the vegetables on the baking pan every 20 minutes until the bacon is cooked through and the vegetables nicely browned, about 1 hour.
- Every 20 - 30 minutes check the dutch oven. If the fat is rendering off too quickly and the meat looks dry, place the lid back on the pot. Vegetables will be done when the meat is cooked through, about 1½ - 2 hours.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables from the fat and serve on a platter with the chicken arranged on top.
- Left overs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. The bacon is best eaten the day it is made, as it doesn't reheat well. Extra bacon can be cooked prior to serving.