Roast Chicken with Turnips

1 chicken, about 3 pounds
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons softened butter or olive oil
2 pounds white turnips, peeled and cut in slices 1/4 inch thick


Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place a nonstick roasting pan on a rack set low in oven. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and rub it with about a third of the butter or oil.

When oven is hot, add another third of the butter or oil to pan. Place chicken in hot pan, breast up; roast 15 minutes, or until top begins to brown. Remove from oven, and scatter turnips around it; dot them with remaining butter, or drizzle with remaining oil. Tilt pan so juices run out of chicken.

Roast 15 minutes longer, and then baste chicken with pan juices. Continue to roast (lower heat to 350 if bird is becoming too brown) until an instant-read thermometer inserted in meaty part of thigh registers 155 degrees, 15 to 30 minutes more. Remove bird from pan, and raise heat to 500 degrees. Return turnips to oven in pan.

Let chicken rest while turnips brown, about 5 minutes. Carve chicken, and serve with turnips and pan juices.

From Bitten: The trick here is to preheat a pan in the oven so that, when the bird is placed in it, the thighs are seared by contact, which gives them a jump on the cooking process.