Just Good Food

by John Ryan


Roasted Chicken
with Garlic Navy Beans


Chicken takes time; beans take time. Garlic is good with beans; garlic is good with chicken. It was this kind of thinking that led me to cook the two at the same time and then use the pan juices from the chicken to make a garlicky sauce for the beans.

Despite the long overall cooking time, it only takes 15 minutes or so to get the whole thing going. Perfect for weekend cooking. If you are starting with dried beans, give them a 30-minute head start before throwing the chicken into the oven.

For a roasting pan, use one that is only slightly larger than the bird. With a big pan, the juices will dry up. If you have a rack for the pan, great, but if not, it's okay to put the bird right in the pan. I sometimes use a 10-inch skillet and it works fine.

You need...
1-1/2 hours
Roasting pan with a rack
3-quart pot with a lid
375-degree F oven

The beans:
1/2 pound dried navy beans (1 heaping cup), soaked for several hours
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

The roasted chicken:
1 whole chicken
1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
About 1/2 teaspoon salt
Generous grindings of pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
8 big cloves garlic, unpeeled


1. Turn your oven on to 375-degrees F. Put the beans, water, and salt on to simmer. Cover the bean pot. Check after a few minutes, the beans should barely simmer.

2. Pull the neck and sack of organs out of the chicken. Drop the neck in the bean pot. (If you use the organs, put them away for another day, otherwise throw them out.) Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pull off any visible fat and put the chicken in your roasting pan.

3. Make a lemon dressing by squeezing the lemon into a small bowl and mixing in the oil, salt, pepper, and oregano. Put the lemon rinds into the chicken cavity.

4. Pour that lemon dressing over the chicken. Scatter the garlic in the pan and put in the oven. After about 45 minutes, spoon the pan juices over the bird.

5. When the chicken is done, tip it to let the chicken juices from inside drain into the pan, then set it aside on a cutting board while you make the sauce for the beans.

6. Put the garlic on the cutting board, and tip the pan so you can skim most of the fat off. Add a few spoonfuls of water from the beans to the roasting pan so you have about 1/2 cup of pan juices. Stir the juices around, scraping up the stuck bits in the pan.

7. Cut the base off each clove of garlic and the cloves will slip right out of their skins. Mash the garlic with a fork on the cutting board until you have a paste, then stir the paste into the pan juices to taste— you may not use all the garlic paste. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste.

8. Drain the navy beans and pour the garlicky pan juices over them. Carve up the chicken and serve.


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John Ryan

Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.


This page created April 2000