Cayenne-Roasted Chicken with Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash, Carrots and Onion

If you like more spice, kick up the cayenne—or, if you prefer, simply omit it.
By / Photography By Amy McCoy | December 01, 2012

About this recipe

Here in Rhode Island we are fortunate to be able to shop local all year round.

At the winter farmers’ markets, shop for less-expensive storage crops like root vegetables and winter squash. (Store them in a cool, dark place—don’t store in plastic.)

• Be on the lookout for less-than-perfect apples, which are sold at a discount. They’re perfectly fine for eating out of hand, cooking and baking.

• Before you get shopping, survey the mar- ket vendors and compare prices. You might find a better price on carrots at one stall and good price on squash at another.

Cold weather calls for comfort food. Easy to prepare, roast chicken is a splurge but the beauty of roasting a whole bird is getting three separate uses from it.

  1. Roast chicken dinner for four to six people.
  2. Leftover lunch or supper for two. (Win- ter salad with shredded kale and apples; chicken salad; or sweet potato-chicken quesadilla).
  3. Flavorful chicken stock. (Cover chicken bones and 2–3 cups roughly chopped onion, carrot scraps, fennel tops and cel- ery with cold water. Add a fistful of pars- ley, some peppercorns, thyme and salt. Bring to boil and simmer 3 hours. Strain and refrigerate or freeze.) Homemade stock will further reduce the cost of inex- pensive dishes like risotto and polenta. They’ll taste a lot better too!

Other preparations that make the most of a whole chicken include stew and apple cider– braised chicken, the leftovers from which include budget-friendly dishes like chicken potpie and chicken soup—made better with homemade stock.

Estimated cost for 4 to 6 servings of roast chicken and vegetables: $29.85.
$7.47 per serving for 4; $4.98 per serving for 6.
(Cost estimates are for chicken dinner only. Estimates will lower by using leftovers and making homemade stock.)


Preheat oven to 400°.

Place the chicken on a rack in a large roasting pan. In a small bowl, mix together ½ tea- spoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and cayenne pepper. Lightly brush the chicken all over with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then sprinkle the spice mixture
over the breast, legs and wings.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the Acorn squash, carrots and onion with 2 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup and rosemary. Season well with salt and pepper.

Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a 10- by 15-inch rimmed baking sheet.

Place the roasting pan on the middle oven rack with the pan positioned so that the breast side is facing out. Place the baking sheet with vegetables alongside.

Roast both the chicken and vegetables for 55 minutes to 1 hour. Stir the vegetables oc- casionally during the cooking time. The chicken is done when its juices run clear when pierced with a fork (160° with an instant-read thermometer).

The vegetables are done when lightly browned and easily cut with a fork.

Allow the chicken to rest covered loosely with foil for 5 to 10 minutes before carving. Serve hot with vegetables. Serves 4 to 6.


  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) pasture-raised chicken
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 Acorn squash (approximately 2 pounds), halved, seeded, sliced crosswise into ½-inch half-circles
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and sliced crosswise into ¼-inch rounds
  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into ½-inch wedges
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
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