Roasted Chicken and Vegetables: A Simple Meal (With Great Leftovers)

I am not a cook and am nowhere near anything resembling a chef. Thankfully, my wife grew up in the house of a chef – her father – and can cook. I have reaped the many benefits of this upbringing and, for this, I am forever grateful. Seriously, it is amazing.

However, this meal is quickly becoming my favorite. Not only does it taste unbelievable, is locally grown and organic, it is also ridiculously easy to prepare. In our efforts to simplify life while becoming more and more aware of what it is we are eating, we have found that this meal has become a weekly staple in our house. Not only do we love it, our daughters (ages 4 and 2; 9 month old will soon) eat it up too. In many ways, this meal and others like it, have begun to reshape our imaginations and practices surrounding food as we participate in both our local ecology and economy.

What you see below feeds all of us well.


Whole, cleaned chicken

2 Carrots

3-5 Potatoes – both red and white

1-2 Sweet potatoes

1 Red/green/purple pepper

1 eggplant

(Add any other vegetables you’d like.)

Olive Oil

Coarse Kosher Salt


Parchment paper

Dutch Oven

Baking/cookie sheet

Cook Time: 50 minutes


1. Preheat your oven to 450° F.

2. While waiting for the oven to preheat, rinse your vegetables. Peal and cut into similar sized pieces for even cooking.


3. After vegetables are rinsed, pealed and cut, place the parchment paper on the baking/cookie sheet. Drizzle them lightly with olive oil as a coating, so they don’t stick to the parchment paper.


4. We purchase organic, grass fed chickens from Hilltop Farms in Moravia. For local folks, Hilltop Farm’s farmer, Delmar, is in Shed A at the Regional Market every Saturday. He is always in the middle of the aisle waiting with chickens, eggs, and a warm Mennonite smile. (We always get our eggs from him as well.)

Clean what remnants (feathers) may be on your chicken and place breast-side up in your Dutch oven. Graciously salt and place in your oven for 25 minutes. We always place it on the upper rack to ensure crispy skin and juicy meat.

After the initial 25 minutes, place your vegetables sheet on the lower rack for another 25 minutes.

DSC00893 DSC00894

5. Take both vegetables and chicken out of oven after 50 minutes. Poke the thighs with a fork; if clear liquid comes out, then it is finished.

Let rest for 15-20 minutes and then dive in!   DSC00896


My wife always uses the leftovers of the chicken to make stock for future dishes. Again, it is easy as the meal above.


1. Fill Dutch oven with water until approximately half of the chicken is covered.

2. Turn heat up to HIGH until boiling.

3. Once boiling, turn heat to LOW and let simmer for 45-60 minutes.

4. Take chicken out of Dutch oven.

5. Place a strainer in your favorite refrigerator-safe container and pour contents into it.

6. Allow to cool prior to refrigeratoring. After it chills, use it in rice, orzo, or whatever else you want.


I hope this was helpful. If you are just embarking on the local, organic, slow food journey or have been traveling this path for some time, I’d love to hear what and how you eat. What have you learned? What are you enjoying?


“A Day’s Journey into Nineveh” – How Theology is Rooted in Geography

Pastoral work is local: Nineveh. The difficulty in carrying it out is that we have a universal gospel but distressingly limited by time and space. We are under command to go into all the world to proclaim the gospel to every creature. We work under the large rubrics of heaven and hell. And now we find ourselves in a town of three thousand people on the far edge of Kansas, in which the library is underbudgeted, the radio station plays only country music, the high school football team provides all the celebrities the town can manage, and a covered-dish supper is the high point in congregational life.

It is hard for a person who has been schooled in the urgencies of apocalyptic and with an imagination furnished with saints and angels to live in this town very long and take part in its conversations without getting a little impatient, growing pretty bored, and wondering if it wasn’t an impulsive mistake to abandon that ship going to Tarshish.

We start dreaming of greener pastures. We preach BIG IDEA sermons. Our voices take on a certain stridency as our anger and disappointment at being stuck in this place begin to leak into our discourse.

Now is the time to rediscover the meaning of the local, and in terms of church, the parish. All churches are local. All pastoral work takes place geographically. ‘If you would do good,’ wrote William Blake, ‘you must do it in Minute Particulars.’ When Jonah began his proper work, he went a day’s journey into Nineveh. He didn’t stand at the edge and preach at them; he entered into the midst of their living – heard what they were saying, smelled the cooking, picked up the colloquialisms, lived ‘on the economy,’ not aloof from it, not superior to it.

The gospel is emphatically geographical. Place names – Sinai, Hebron, Machpelah, Shiloh, Nazareth, Jezreel, Samaria, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Bethsaida – these are embedded in the gospel. All theology is rooted in geography.

Pilgrims to biblical lands find that the towns in which David camped and Jesus lived are no better or more beautiful or more exciting than their hometowns.

The reason we get restless with where we are and want, as we say, ‘more of a challenge’ or ‘a larger field of opportunity’ has nothing to do with prophetic zeal or priestly devotion; it is the product of spiritual sin. The sin is generated by the virus of gnosticism.

Gnosticism is the ancient but persistently contemporary perversion of the gospel that is contemptuous of place and matter. It holds forth that salvation consists in having the right ideas, and the fancier the better. It is impatient with restrictions of place and time and embarrassed by the garbage and disorder of everyday living. It constructs a gospel that majors in fine feelings embellished by sayings of Jesus. Gnosticism is also impatient with slow-witted people and plodding companions and so always ends up being highly selective, appealing to an elite group of people who are ‘spiritually deep,’ attuned to each other, and quoting a cabal of experts.

The gospel, on the other hand, is local intelligence, locally applied, and plunges with a great deal of zest into the flesh, into matter, into place – and accepts whoever happens to be on the premises as the people of God. One of the pastor’s continuous tasks is to make sure that these conditions are honored: this place just as it is, these people in their everyday clothes, ‘a particularizing love for local thing, rising out of local knowledge and local allegiance.’

Eugene Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness, p. 128-130.