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

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Roast Chicken

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken | Image: Laura Messersmith

One of the reasons I love reading cookbooks and watching cooking shows is for inspiration. I’m continually amazed at the creativity I see and it’s an opportunity to learn something new. I recently saw an episode of Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen where she made a roast chicken with dried lavender and was I intrigued by the use of lavender in cooking.

In Provence lavender is a staple of the kitchen spice rack and it seems like the bakers on the Great British Bake-Off are constantly infusing things with it, but I was having trouble wrapping my head around an ingredient I associate with linen closets. So, I decided to give it a shot and take a little culinary adventure to southern France with Rachel’s recipe as my guide.

Lavender has a strong herbal flavor that when combined with lemon zest and thyme reminded me of rosemary - a little astringent, a hint piney, but not at all reminiscent of a sachet, unless that sachet is full of herbs de Provence. Since it is powerful, a little goes a long way and I particularly liked it with the balancing sweetness of the wildflower honey, which also has a delicate floral note.

This recipe is so simple and takes just a few minutes to assemble, but the unique flavor elements make it feel special all the same. Perfect with some pureed potatoes or sautéed asparagus.

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken | Image: Laura Messersmith

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken (serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender buds
2 lemons, zest and juice
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup wildflower honey
4 pieces of bone-in, skin-on chicken, either breast or leg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions:
Place the lavender in a large ziptop bag and lightly crush using a rolling pin. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, honey, thyme leaves, lemon zest and juice. Pour into the zip top bag with the lavender then add the chicken pieces. Seal the bag pressing out the air and turn a few times to coat all sides of the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or up to 4 hours).

Preheat oven to 400°F. Put chicken and marinade into roasting pan with the skin side down and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast chicken for 45 minutes, turning pieces over halfway.

Cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F or when thickest part is pierced with a skewer and the juices run clear (not red or pink). Serve the chicken with cooking juices spooned over the top.

Rewritten and slightly adapted from Rachel Khoo’s Poulet au Citron et Lavande via PopSugar.

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Absolutely. All I needed for this recipe was a gallon sized zip top bag, a small cuutin board, chef’s knife, microplane zester, liquid measuring cup, measuring spoons and a medium baking dish (2 qt.)

The Verdict:
I really didn’t know what to expect since I’ve never made a Rachel Khoo recipe before – that requires trust! – but I have to give credit where credit is due, this is really, really good. The lavender is subtle and in combination with the lemon and thyme it brings a beautifully summery flavor to the chicken, like the toasted warmth of a golden hay field in August and so simple to put together at a moment’s notice.  Just the thing now that freezing temperatures have taken hold in New York and we need a taste of summer to see us through.

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken | Image: Laura Messersmith

Roasted Chicken with Honey & Aleppo Pepper

Roasted Chicken with Honey & Aleppo Pepper  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Roasted Chicken with Honey & Aleppo Pepper | Image: Laura Messersmith

Barbecue chicken with its spicy-sticky coating caramelized just this side of charcoal black is a summer classic. But after all the promise of the bronzed color, the flavor can be a little underwhelming since the sauce never really makes contact with the meat.

As I was paging through Food + Wine’s most recent issue featuring their list of Best New Chefs I spotted this recipe for chicken that reminded me of the tang and sweet heat all the best barbecue sauce has to offer. The key difference: time and also thyme (rosemary too.) Chef Zoi Antonitsas of Westward in Seattle mixes together a gorgeous marinade of honey and spicy pepper for a hit of fresh herbs.

Personally, I love when a recipe combines a familiar technique – marinating, roasting – with a flavor combination that’s new to my palate. I’d never tasted Aleppo pepper before and I was intrigued by the fresh herb and honey combination. One taste and I can see why Chef Antonitsas is garnering so much great press.

Roasted Chicken with Honey & Aleppo Pepper   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Roasted Chicken with Honey & Aleppo Pepper | Image: Laura Messersmith

Roasted Chicken with Honey and Aleppo (serves 4)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Aleppo pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

Instructions:
In a large liquid measuring cup whisk together the olive oil, honey and red wine vinegar with the Aleppo pepper, kosher salt, minced garlic, thyme and rosemary. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade in a small bowl and refrigerate.

Place the chicken breasts in a large zip-top bag and pour the remaining marinade in and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight turning periodically to ensure even contact with the chicken.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Arrange the chicken skin side up on the baking sheet. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the largest piece registers 160°.

Transfer to a platter. Drizzle the chicken with the reserved marinade, sprinkle with salt and serve.

Slightly adapted from Chicken Legs with Honey and Aleppo by Zoi Antonitsas in Food + Wine magazine July 2015.

Roasted Chicken with Honey & Aleppo Pepper   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Roasted Chicken with Honey & Aleppo Pepper | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes, this is really simple. I used a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, measuring spoons, a whisk, medium cutting board, and chef’s knife. I also needed a gallon-sized zip top bag, small storage container, foil, and a rimmed baking sheet.

The Verdict:
We both loved this recipe, which has the extra bonus of being really, really easy to prepare. Just a little mincing, some patience, a hands-off cooking approach and dinner is on the table! But, the simplicity of the ingredients and preparation belies the superb balance and clear flavors in the sauce. Mike and I are already dreaming up new ways to incorporate the marinade - maybe with beef or salmon? Please try this, you won’t be sorry!

Roasted Chicken with Honey & Aleppo Pepper   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Roasted Chicken with Honey & Aleppo Pepper | Image: Laura Messersmith

Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter

Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter | Image: Laura Messersmith

While it’s mid-July and everyone has moved on to the stone fruits – wouldn’t that be a fun name for a band? – I’m still clinging to rhubarb season. What can I say? I’m not tired of it and since I can still find a stalk or two in my grocery store I’ve decided not to let go quite yet. At least not until I had a chance to make this Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter and Asparagus from the May issue of Bon Appétit.

Roast chicken in high summer probably sounds insane – turn on the oven? To 400 degrees?!? Hear me out though and it will start to seem a little more reasonable.

Point 1: Here’s your chance to practice some really easy chef-y things like making compound butter and poaching. Essentially you’re just cooking the rhubarb pieces until they soften enough to mix into softened butter. The end. See? But doing them makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something super fancy.

Point 2: You can make extras and how could having deliciously summery roast chicken for salads or in a sandwich ever turn out badly? Getting some of the heavy lifting done all at once means you can put your feet up knowing that dinner tomorrow is already done!

Point 3: The most important point of all - this roast chicken is wonderful. The compound butter has fresh ginger and rhubarb that’s been lightly poached in orange juice lends a bright, slightly spicy, citrus sweetness to the meat. Frankly, I’d love to do a marinade version of these flavors as a start and then go double or nothing with the compound butter. A plan for next summer, perhaps?

Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter | Image: Laura Messersmith

Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter (serves: 4)

Ingredients:
1 cup (1 large stalk) rhubarb, large diced
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled ginger
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3½–4 pound whole chicken, or 4-6 bone-in pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Instructions:
Dice rhubarb stalk into 1/2 inch pieces, peel the ginger and finely grate. Bring the diced rhubarb, orange juice, honey, and grated ginger to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb softens and is easily pieced with a fork, about 5 minutes.

Drain the rhubarb through a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl. Reserve the cooking liquid and rhubarb separately; let cool.

Add the room temperature butter to the rhubarb and mix until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Dry the chicken with paper towels and place skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Gently slide your fingers underneath skin to loosen and spread the rhubarb butter underneath taking care not to tear the skin. Drizzle the chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil and some of the reserved rhubarb cooking liquid, scatter thyme over, and season with salt and pepper.

Roast chicken until skin is browned and crisp and meat is cooked through, about 40-50 minutes. The juices will run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh should register 165 degrees F. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Rewritten and slightly adapted from Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter and Asparagus from the May 2015 issue of Bon Appétit.

Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Surprisingly, yes. I used a small sauce pan, medium mesh sieve, liquid measuring cup, chef’s knife, small cutting board, and microplane grater. I also needed a small bowl, rubber spatula, baking pan, tongs, measuring spoons, instant read thermometer, and paper towels.

The Verdict:
Roast chicken is one of my all-time favorite things to eat. It’s so simple that the seasoning really has to be spot-on or sadly it can be flavorless and disappointing. No need to worry on that account with this recipe. The chicken is beautifully juicy and tender – a close your eyes it’s so good first bite – the rhubarb is light, a little acidic, and perfectly balanced by the just slightly sticky spice of the orange juice and ginger. 

Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter | Image: Laura Messersmith