Parisian Roasted Chicken and Tiny Potatoes

Parisian Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Parisian Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes | Image: Laura Messersmith

I’ve had this page in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook flagged with a post-it note for about 2 years and I am absolutely kicking myself that I just made it this fall for the first time. It has everything to recommend it – simple, short ingredient list; minimal equipment, classic French flavors – and yet I think I was intimidated by the process of spatch-cocking a chicken.

What that means in a nut-shell is removing the backbone so that a whole chicken can be cooked flat; reducing the total cook time. A slightly gruesome project, but one that is over and done with in less than five minutes presuming you have a sharp knife, or set of kitchen shears at your disposal. I recommend using the paper towel to keep the bird from skidding around on the cutting board while you undertake this process. But then it’s over and the more typical seasoning and roasting commence.

I called this chicken “Parisian” because Deb Perelman, the recipe’s author, tells the story of eating a similar dish on a trip to France and it reminded me of an Ina Garten recipe inspired by her own experiences in the City of Light. One bite and it’s clear why this dish makes a lasting impression.

The results are beautifully golden crisp skin – no need for oil or butter to accomplish it, just a few more paper towels for patting dry – juicy meat, and potatoes** that have absorbed all those amazing chicken-y flavors. Since there’s only a small roasting pan to contend with there’s still space for a sheet tray of Brussels sprouts or asparagus in the oven and dinner hits the table in under an hour.

Parisian Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Parisian Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes | Image: Laura Messersmith

Parisian Roasted Chicken with Tiny Potatoes (serves 4)

Ingredients:
2-3 pounds ping-pong sized Yukon gold potatoes, peeled**
3 1/2 - 4 pound whole chicken
2-3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 lemon

Instructions:
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Wash and peel the potatoes, then spread them in the bottom of a small roasting pan.

Place a layer of paper towel on a medium cutting board and prop the chicken up on its base with the back facing you. Use a chef’s knife to cut vertically along each side of the backbone to remove. (Or place the chicken breast side down and remove the backbone with sharp kitchen shears.) Discard the backbone or save for making chicken stock.

Turn the chicken breast side up and press along the breastbone to flatten. Pat the entire chicken dry - inside and out - with paper towels and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and black pepper.

Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes and toss together with kosher salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top of the potatoes, breast side up, using the vegetables as a makeshift roasting rack.

Roast the chicken in the hot oven for 45-50 minutes, tossing the potatoes and rotating the chicken halfway through. The chicken is done when an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees F when inserted into the thigh. Allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Place the potatoes on a large serving platter. Then cut the chicken into pieces placing the legs, thighs, breasts and wings over the potatoes. Sprinkle the platter with the thyme leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately with a simply cooked vegetable like roasted Brussels sprouts.

**Side Note: A note on the photos - I liked the rustic look of leaving the skins on and honestly peeling teeny potatoes is annoying, so I tested leaving the potato skins on and the results are good, but not amazing. Peeling or at least cutting the potatoes in half makes a BIG difference and allows the great chicken-y flavors to permeate, so it’s 100% worth it. If using a larger potato cutting them in small pieces achieves the same results.

Re-written from Deb Perelman’s Flat Roasted Chicken with Tiny Potatoes in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (pg. 173 – 174)

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Absolutely. I used a 9x13 metal roasting pan, a medium cutting board, chef’s knife, a vegetable peeler, and paper towels. That’s it!!

Parisian Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Parisian Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes | Image: Laura Messersmith

Parisian Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Parisian Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes | Image: Laura Messersmith

Honey Lemon Saffron Chicken

Honey Saffron Chicken  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Honey Saffron Chicken | Image: Laura Messersmith

I’ve never been to Malibu, but after reading the Malibu Farm cookbook cover to cover it feels like I just got back from the Left Coast. Helene Henderson’s writing is straightforward and the recipes she created emphasize produce of the highest quality grown by her local community of farmers, beekeepers, and herdsmen. The dishes are homey and familiar, something you could throw together at a moment’s notice, with enough international flair to feel fresh.

Malibu Farm Cookbook

One caveat – the preparations are simple and the instructions bare bones assuming the reader knows details like how hot a skillet should be to pan-fry fish or cook an egg. Most recipes and their ingredients are approachable, perhaps with the exception of the whole roasted lamb or boar sausage, but even experienced cooks will find lots to inspire with these riffs on California cuisine. At this point the pages of my copy are bristling with tabs noting the dishes I want to make – particularly exciting as the summer approaches and ingredients like sweet corn and plums come into season.

For the moment I’ve settled on the Honey Lemon Saffron Chicken which pairs the savory depth of chicken legs with the bright, light lemon and honey marinade. The skin turns deep mahogany as the sugar in the honey burns and caramelizes. Finishing the cooking in the oven maintains the juiciness of the meat and ensures it’s perfectly done when the pan emerges.

Honey Lemon Saffron Chicken (serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon (1 medium clove) grated garlic
3 tablespoons wildflower honey
1 pinch saffron strands
1/4 cup (1 large) fresh lemon juice
4 bone-in, skin on chicken legs
kosher salt

Instructions:
In a small sauté pan, cook the butter and grated garlic together over low heat for 4-5 minutes or until the garlic turns soft and fragrant. Off the heat, stir in the honey and juice from the lemon. Allow to cool.

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken legs liberally with kosher salt. Place in a ziptop plastic bag and pour in the cooled marinade. Press out the air and seal tightly making sure each piece of chicken is coated in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large sauté pan, heat 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat and place the pieces of chicken skin side down in the pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the chicken skin is deep brown and crisp. Turn the chicken over, skin side up, and place in the oven. Roast for 20-15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 170 degrees. Serve immediately.

Re-written and adapted from Helene Henderson’s Honey Lemon Saffron Chicken in Malibu Farm Cookbook (page 111).

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Surprisingly, yes! I used one small sauté pan, one large sauté pan, a small cutting board, utility knife, tongs, a microplane grater, and a ziplock bag.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.

Honey Saffron Chicken  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Honey Saffron Chicken | Image: Laura Messersmith

Chicken Chili Verde

Chicken Chili Verde  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Chicken Chili Verde | Image: Laura Messersmith

When it’s freezing out there’s nothing more comforting than a pot of something delicious simmering away and chili is one of those easy, satisfying meals that just gets better and better the longer the ingredients hang out together. I love my classic Spicy Red Chili with bell peppers and ground beef in a tomato base, but I wanted to mix it up a little and develop a recipe that delivers that same comforting meal, but with a different set of flavors.

This recipe takes the cool greens of poblano peppers, jalapeños and tomatillos as inspiration with chicken broth as the base to make a lighter, brighter chili. In case it isn’t obvious I’ve been on a bit of a citrus kick lately and my mind is constantly whirring with ways to incorporate all the wonderful varieties that are available now. It’s amazing what a difference a bit of acid in a dish makes – the edge of lime here cuts through heavier texture of the white beans and wakes up the spice of the jalapeno.

Chicken Chili Verde  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Chicken Chili Verde | Image: Laura Messersmith

Chicken Chili Verde with Lime (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:
2-2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast
2 cups (1 large) chopped Vidalia onion
2 1/2 tablespoons (4-5 cloves) minced garlic
2 teaspoons (1 small) minced jalapeño pepper
3 cups (12 ounces) diced tomatillos
8 ounces (2 small cans) diced green chilies
3 (15 ounce) cans Great Northern or Cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper

For garnish: lime wedges, cilantro leaves, minced jalapeño

Instructions:
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet and lightly coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Roast at 350 degrees F. for 40-45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. on an instant read thermometer. Remove the chicken from the oven and set aside to cool and rest. Reduce the oven to 200 degrees F.

While the chicken cooks, prep the vegetables.

Notes on Prep: for milder heat remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño. Tomatillos grow in a papery husk and have a slightly sticky coating. Remove the husk and rinse the fruit before de-stemming, similar to a tomato.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat in a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed, oven-proof pot. Saute the chopped onion for 5-7 minutes until the pieces begin to turn translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally to keep the garlic from burning.

Next, add the minced jalapeño, the canned diced chilies and their liquid, as well as the diced tomatillos. Stir in the ground cumin and kosher salt. Continue to cook for 4-5 minutes to soften the tomatillos and form a thick sauce.

Stir in the drained, rinsed white beans, the chicken stock, and the bay leaf. Raise the temperature to medium and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for 1- 1/2 hours at 200 degrees F. to allow the flavors time to combine.

If the chili is too thin in consistency, puree 1-2 cups of the chili in a food processor or blender and then return the puree to the pot.

Finally, remove the skin from the chicken and pull the meat into bite sized shreds. Add the chicken to the pot and stir. Bring the chili back up to temperature and serve with cilantro leaves, minced jalapeño and lime wedges.

Chicken Chili Verde  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Chicken Chili Verde | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes, totally. I used a 5.5 qt French oven, a medium cutting board, chef’s knife, baking sheet, medium fine mesh sieve, wooden spatula, a liquid measuring cup, measuring cups and spoons. A food processor or blender will be helpful if you’d like a thicker chili.

The Verdict:
I initially worried as I developed this recipe that a chicken chili would be a pale imitation not worthy of the title. As it turns out I think we might even, just possibly prefer the bright, slightly sharp flavor of the tomatillos with the consoling warmth of the chicken and broth. I highly recommend serving it with a good squeeze of lime and a few leaves of fresh cilantro. Perfect for a cold winter’s day.

Chicken Chili Verde  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Chicken Chili Verde | Image: Laura Messersmith

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry with Chickpeas & Rainbow Chard

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry with Chickpeas & Rainbow Chard   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry with Chickpeas & Rainbow Chard | Image: Laura Messersmith

I must have curry on the brain these days because it seems like everywhere I go: there it is! Okay, something of an exaggeration, but this does seem to be Unofficial Curry Week around here – first Thai delivery on Sunday, then Ina’s curry influenced soup, a date with a friend who has promised to take us to eat amazing Tibetan food this weekend, and now this recipe which I pinned ages ago and just dusted off to actually try.

The tricky part about curry mixes is that they’re all different depending on the source – one might be firey lava hot while another is gentler on the taste buds. I’ve linked to the specific brands I used, but if you’re trying something different I’d recommend tasting them before adding the amount I suggested to see if it fits with your preferences.

I love curry, but I tend to be a spice lightweight so I approached the original proportions with some trepidation and started with significantly less of the curry and chili paste to create a milder version. The coconut milk does help smooth out any spikier edges, so if you prefer something quite hot then add more of the chili and curry pastes.

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry with Chickpeas & Rainbow Chard  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry with Chickpeas & Rainbow Chard | Image: Laura Messersmith

Chicken Coconut Curry with Chickpeas & Rainbow Chard (serves 6)

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1/3 cup (1 large) thinly sliced shallots
1 1/2 teaspoons (1 1/2 inch piece, peeled) grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon (1 large clove) grated garlic
5 teaspoons green curry paste
2 1/2 teaspoons sambal oelek chili paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 can (14 ounce) coconut milk
2 cups water
1 can (14 ounce) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 cups (1 bunch) Rainbow chard, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup unsalted, toasted cashews

Instructions:
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot or French oven over medium heat. Add in the sliced shallots, reduce the flame to low, and sauté for 4-5 minutes until they begin to soften. While the shallots are cooking, thinly slice the chicken breasts horizontally, across the grain in 1/4 inch pieces.

Next, add the grated ginger and garlic to the pot and sauté for one 1 minute. Stir in the curry paste, chili paste, and kosher salt to form a thick sauce and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sliced chicken to the pot and stir to coat with the sauce. Sauté over medium heat until almost fully cooked, about 6-7 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and one can (about 2 cups) of water. Bring to a boil and the reduce to low to simmer for 20 minutes. While the curry is simmering, drain and rinse the chickpeas and prep the Rainbow chard. Slice each leaf along the central rib to remove and set aside. Chop the ribs into 2 inch pieces. Next, roll the leaves vertically and slice across the roll in 1/4 pieces to create ribbons.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, add in the chickpeas and stalks and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes until the stalks soften. Wilt in the chard ribbons and stir in the toasted cashews. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning according to taste. Serve alone or with basmati rice, pita bread or naan with extra chili paste on the side.

Re-written and adapted from The Crepes of Wrath’s Green Chickpea Chicken Coconut Curry with reference to this article in The Guardian (UK).

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry with Chickpeas & Rainbow Chard   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry with Chickpeas & Rainbow Chard | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Surprisingly, yes! This is a classic one-pot dish and I used my faithful 5.5 qt Le Creuset French oven, along with a chef’s knife, two* medium cutting boards (one for vegetables, one for chicken), measuring spoons, a microplane grater, and a wooden spatula.

*If you have just one cutting board, hopefully it’s a plastic one that can be run through the dishwasher. Prep the chard, ginger, etc. first and set aside before cutting the chicken.

The Verdict:
Mike and I both really liked this recipe and it has the dual benefit of pleasing two people who have verrrry different ideas of what’s considered spicy. It’s easy to stir in a bit more chili paste or leave it as is just spooned over basmati rice. The addition of fresh ginger and garlic brightens up the coconut milk and since I’m obsessed with having a bit of crunch the cashews are perfect. Only one problem and a note of caution: I may have cooked my way out of Thai takeout…

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry with Chickpeas & Rainbow Chard   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry with Chickpeas & Rainbow Chard | Image: Laura Messersmith