(Note: this is a weekend meal since it takes about two hours to complete, but most of that time is hands-off.)

Roast Chicken with Onions and Potatoes
I lived in Boston for about four years, and Hamersley’s Bistro was far and away my favorite restaurant in the city. Today, it seems like every restaurant tries to balance fine dining with a casual atmosphere, but they were one of the first to do it well. The bistro is famous for its roast chicken, which is featured in their wonderful cookbook, Bistro Cooking at Home. I tried the restaurant recipe once, and it was magnificent, but it took all day. Fortunately, the cookbook also features a more manageable version which takes far less time, uses fewer ingredients and is equally as good.

3 TB. olive oil
3 TB. Dijon mustard
1 ½  ts. dried thyme
1 ½ ts. dried rosemary
salt and pepper
1 lemon, cut in half
1 whole chicken (4 lbs.)
2 large red onion, cut into thick rounds*
6 medium red potatoes, washed but not peeled, sliced in half
½ cup chicken broth or water

* ingredients that can be prepped several days ahead.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, mustard, thyme and rosemary, and season with a little salt and pepper. Squeeze one half of the lemon into this mixture; squeeze the other half into small bowl. Reserve the juice as well as the squeezed lemon halves. Rub the herb mixture over the chicken and inside its cavity. Put the squeezed lemon halves in the cavity as well.

Put the onion and potatoes in the bottom of the roasting pan and toss with the remaining olive oil and some salt and pepper. Make room for the chicken in the pan and put it breast side up. Cook until the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked, about 1 ½- ¾ hours; a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh should register 165 – 170 degrees.

Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter. Pour the juices from inside the chicken’s cavity into the roasting pan and transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest.

Degrease the juices in the roasting pan (tip the pan and try to skim off as much of the fast as possible with a spoon). Set the pan over medium-high heat. Add the reserved lemon juice and chicken broth or water. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the flavorful browned bits stuck to the pan. Carve the chicken or cut it into pieces and serve it with the potatoes, onions, and some of the plan juices poured over all.

Steamed Green Beans
1 lb. green beans, trimmed and halved if very long
1 Tb. butter
salt and pepper

Over medium-high heat, place beans in a steamer basket set in a pot with enough water to almost touch the beans, cover. It should take between 5-10 minutes for the water to come to a boil and steam the green beans until they are tender, but keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook and become limp. Remove from basket and toss with butter, salt and pepper.