Chicken Dinners: Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Crispy Potatoes
Recently a friend of my commented on Facebook that he didn't care so much for the fall season, but that he did enjoy roasted chicken au jus with potatoes. Not like fall? That's crazy talk to someone like me who's stranded in the tropics. And it made me miss fall that much more. So even though my four A/C units have been running at full blast, I've been dreaming of roasted chicken and potatoes. I knew this craving wouldn't settle down until I just took the plunge, fired up the oven, and started peeling the potatoes. It was also a good way to use some of that rosemary plant I've been nursing all summer.
While this dinner is not a quickie like a stir fry, the comforting home-style results are worth the wait. Once it's in the oven, there isn't much to do except wait until the scents of chicken, rosemary, and potatoes wafting through the house drive you just about crazy. To start, I first got the potatoes in the oven since they would take the longest. I decided to go with my great grandma's way of roasting potatoes: garlic russet potatoes slow roasted for an hour in a hot cast iron skillet. Unlike Yukon Gold or new potatoes, starchy russets roast up nice and crunchy, soak up the basting butter nicely, and still retain a delicious creamy interior. Grandma was known to roast the potatoes in bacon fat when that was on hand (an insanely tasty and indulgent treat), but I went with butter because that's what I had on hand (and also because I was afraid that rendering some bacon fat would just turn into an excuse for me to chow down a pound of bacon). Word of warning here: It's easy to eat your weight in potatoes when cooked this way. Roast as many as you can, but use the biggest pan you can find. The trick is to give the potatoes lots of space. Don't crowd the pan or the potatoes will steam and not get roasty-crunchy.
Halfway through the potato roasting, I pan-fried the skin side of lemon and rosemary marinated chicken pieces in a separate skillet to get the skin crispy, threw in a quartered lemon and some carrots for veggies sake, and tossed it in the oven. The chicken took about 25 minutes to roast, at which point the point the potatoes were about finished. The carrots were just cooked and flavored nicely from the lemon rosemary and the chicken drippings. I considered making a gravy out of the tasty jus in the bottom of the pan, but decided instead to simply spoon it over the potatoes and to let the chicken sop it up.
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About the author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore as a freelance writer for Time Out Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com. Follow Yvonne on Twitter.