3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 (5- to 6-pound) roasting chicken, neck and giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1 tablespoon oil
12 medium carrots, peeled
6 medium baking potatoes, peeled and halved crosswise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes. In a medium bowl, set aside 1 tablespoon of the mixture.
2. Place the chicken on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Gently lift the breast skin of the chicken and spread the large portion of cilantro mixture under the skin. Toss the 1 cup chopped onion and 1 cup chopped carrot with the reserved 1 tablespoon cilantro mixture. Spoon onion mixture into the cavity of the chicken, tie the legs together, and rub the 1 tablespoon oil over the chicken. Pour 2 cups water into the roasting pan.
3. Roast the chicken 1 3/4 hours, adding water occasionally to keep the pan from burning. Add the potatoes and carrots to the roasting pan. Roast about 30 minutes longer or until the vegetables are tender and a meat thermometer registers 190 degrees F. when inserted into the inner thigh.
4. When the chicken is done, untie the chicken legs spoon the onion mixture from the cavity of the chicken into the roasting pan. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a serving platter and tent lightly with foil to keep warm.
5. Skim off and discard the fat from the drippings. Stir the drippings to loosen the browned bits on the bottom of the roasting pan. Transfer the drippings and onion mixture from the pan to a 1-quart measuring cup. If necessary, add water to make 3 cups. In a blender or food processor, blend the drippings mixture until vegetables are pureed. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary, and transfer to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and serve with the chicken and vegetables.
Not your grandmother's roast chicken--unless she was from the Southwest. If some of the folks at your Passover table can't take the heat, use only 1/4 teaspoon of the hot red pepper flakes.