Today is Sunday – which usually means I have more time for the kitchen! I find it so helpful to take advantage of this extra time and make something that can stretch into the next day or two. This Sunday I decided on a whole roasted chicken with onions and sweet potatoes, and steamed kale for some green. My plan was make this early in the day, which allowed time for homemade chicken stock and some baby food (see how below). My toddler (aka sweetie pie pie) and my 7 month old (aka the boss) absolutely love sweet potatoes and roasted chicken. And they don’t mind kale either. I am lucky – they are both very good eaters. There was a rough period of time when pie pie was about 18 months…she would not eat anything except cheese, cereal, bread and milk. Occasionally maybe a chick pea or hard boiled egg. That was really frustrating for me, especially when we travelled to San Francisco (so much good food!!!) and I had to get her these items at the grocery store (while we ate delicious things like gelato or korean fusion at HRD coffee shop). Fortunately, she grew out of this funk in a few months and has been a good little eater ever since; she is not afraid of green things or spices. If she had her way though I know she would still choose carbs and cheese first:)
prep: 15 min cook: 1 hr 30 min yield: 4-6
what you need:
- whole chicken (mine was 1.7 kg)
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 3 small cooking onions
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 cup water
what to do:
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Thoroughly wash sweet potatoes. Peel if desired, but I like to keep my skins on, especially if I’ve purchased organic ones. Chop potatoes and onions into large chunks, about 2″ x 2″.
- Place cubed vegetables into large baking dish and drizzle olive oil all over, about 1-2 tsp. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Smash garlic and roughly chop.
- Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Rest breast side up on a cutting board, and butterfly by cutting along the breast bone. This will help speed up roasting of the chicken. You can roast the chicken whole but it will take longer (use a thermometer, internal temperature should be 165 F).
- Drizzle chicken with olive oil (about 1 tbsp), and lightly season with salt and pepper. Find little pockets under the skin to insert the garlic cloves – be sure to push the cloves under the skin as far as you can to really flavour the meat underneath.
- Pour 1 cup of water into baking dish and put into the hot oven. Set your timer for 15 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, lower temperature to 370 F, and roast for another 1 hour or so. The skin should be golden brown, internal temperature at 165 F, sweet potatoes fork tender, onions very soft and translucent.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes. Cutting it too soon will make your chicken dry – the juices within the meat will just run out onto your cutting board. It’s too hot to handle anyways!
- While your chicken is resting, wash kale, remove tough stems, and roughly chop. Steam for 6 minutes – you know it’s ready when it turns vibrant bright green.
- Remove all veggies, draining away excess liquid/fat. Cut chicken as desired, but save your bones!
homemade chicken stock:
- Remove bones from roasted chicken. For even more flavour and nutrition (claims my mom), take an extra step and smash the drumstick bones to expose the marrow. You can use the back of a heavy knife, or a mallet.
- Bring 7 cups of water to a boil. Add liquid from roasted chicken baking dish, and bones. Once it boils again, bring it down to a simmer (low heat) for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once it’s not piping hot, strain (to remove those bones and potential shards!), and skim off the top layer of fat using a large spoon. The easiest way is to transfer your stock to a mason jar or some other container, store it in the fridge…the fat will solidify at the top and you can just simply scoop it out and discard. Now you have homemade chicken stock!
baby’s roasted chicken, sweet potato & kale dinner
1. Put roasted sweet potatoes, onions, and steamed kale into a blender (I use my ninja), and add about 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock (or water). Blend until desired consistency. You can also add chicken to the mixture. I give my little Joce tiny pieces of dark meat, as she is able to gum at this texture. Baby led weaning is popular and recommended now but it really is about how comfortable you are and how your baby does with textures. I still like giving her some purees, especially with today’s sweet potato with the skin on, and the onions. Both would be difficult for her with no teeth to chew well and swallow safely. I like to keep my baby food in these small mason jars – I find one jar for the boss is the perfect portion. If you are freezing it make sure to leave some space as it will expand! I made that mistake once and my jars cracked and the lids warped!
Two happy munchkins. On the right: a quick meal made by soba noodles (a quick cooking japanese buckwheat noodle) topped with chopped steamed kale, some shredded roasted chicken, and chicken broth.