It may seem superfluous to roast a chicken specifically for a salad, but believe me: it's completely worthwhile (and you'll have extras for a sandwich, anyway). Here, the meat—torn from the bone—is mixed with butternut squash, oven-crisped jus-soaked croutons, grapes, and arugula, all swathed in cider vinaigrette.
Feel free to make the chicken in advance. It's just as tasty cold as it is room temperature or just a bit warm. The croutons are best fresh, though, as are the bits of squash, which gain complexity from being cooked in meat jus.
- Yield:Serves 6
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:About 2 hours
- 1 whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 butternut squash, seeded, peeled and roughly cut into bite-size chunks
- 2/3 loaf of rustic bread, torn into bite-size chunks
- 10 ounces arugula
- 1/2 cup red grapes, halved
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
Place the chicken, breast-side up in a roasting pan. Season generously with salt and pepper and drizzled with 3 tablespoons olive oil and all of the vinegar.
Transfer to the oven and roast the chicken for 45 minutes. Add squash and toss with pan drippings. Return to oven and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. Add croutons, toss again with pan drippings and return to oven to finish cooking, until the chicken breast registers 150°F on an instant-read thermometer, the squash is tender and lightly browned and the croutons are crispy, about 15 minutes more.
Remove from oven and let chicken rest until cool enough to handle. Shred meat from bones with fingers.
Transfer croutons, squash and 2 cups of torn chicken to a large bowl. Add arugula and grapes.
Whisk together cider vinegar, remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, and mustard in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss dressing with salad and serve immediately.