This recipe will work for whatever size chicken you choose; simply adjust cooking time. At 450F, plan on 15 minutes per pound of chicken—a 3lb bird will take approximately 45 minutes; a 4.5lb bird will need just over an hour. Allow the bird to rest 15-20 minutes before carving so the juices stay where they belong…in the bird!
1 whole chicken
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-2lbs potatoes, peeled (or not!) and cut into 2” pieces
1/2-1lb carrots, peeled (or not!) and cut into 2” pieces
1/2-1lb parsnips, peeled (or not!) and cut into 2” cubes
1 tsp thyme
1 T parsley
Dissolve salt and sugar in 2 quarts water in container large enough to hold chicken. Submerge chicken in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
Adjust oven racks to upper/middle and lower positions and heat oven to 450F. Place oven-proof skillet (we use cast iron) large enough to accommodate chicken on upper/middle rack and heat for 15 minutes. Toss root vegetables with a small amount of oil and salt then arrange in single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Combine 1 T oil with pepper in small bowl and rub over entire surface of chicken. Tie legs together and tuck wingtips behind back.
Carefully remove skillet from oven; drizzle with 1-2 tsp oil, swirl to coat. Place chicken breast-side up in skillet and return to upper/middle oven rack. Place sheet of vegetables on lower rack. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove vegetables from oven, remove foil, set aside. Rotate skillet and continue to cook chicken until breast meat registers 160F or thigh registers 175F. (See note on timing & size of bird.)
Transfer chicken to carving board and let rest, uncovered. Increase oven temperature to 500F. Add 1/4 C water to now empty skillet and carefully stir to remove and dissolve brown bits. Strain (if desired) and pour into fat separator or see-through glass bowl; let rest 5 minutes. Skim any fat that forms on top of liquid and drizzle over vegetables. Sprinkle veggies with thyme, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper; toss to coat. Return sheet pan to upper rack and roast for 5 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and flip vegetables. Roast until browned at edges, 8-10 minutes more.
Pour reserved liquid over vegetables and continue to roast 3-5 minutes until vegetables are tender. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with parsley. Carve chicken and serve on bed of vegetables. Serve!