A few years ago I put a thick slice of sturdy bread under a chicken and put both in the oven. As the chicken roasted, its juices rendered onto the bread and made the most delicious chicken-y toast I’ve ever had.
Ever since, I’ve been sliding all kinds of ingredients under my chickens before they go for a hot tan at 375°F. Sweet potatoes have become one of my favorites, because of the way they react to the treatment and because they’re available year-round. The rounds of potato right under the chicken soften and take on a meaty richness rarely associated with this root. And the potatoes surrounding the bird crisp up in the bird’s fat and remind me a little of its roasted skin. It’s all kind of exciting, especially given the ease of preparation—the whole thing takes five minutes, max, to put together.
When roasting chicken, a temperature probe really has the potential to change the quality of what you cook because it takes the guesswork out of cooking protein to the proper temperature.