One problem led to another this weekend, which eventually led to cancelling a dinner party and leaving me with a bunch of potatoes and a plethora of chicken thighs. The problematic weekend also took its toll on writing a post for this blog, which I wasn’t able to get to until today.
After all the drama, I really wasn’t up to cooking last night but needed to put those spuds and thighs to good use. It’s at times like these that I turn to reliable favorites among my cookbooks for a no-brainer recipe requiring minimal prep and cleanup. It didn’t take me long to find one that met these requirements: Baked Chicken with Potatoes and Lemon. It’s from Michele Scicolone’s 1,000 Italian Recipes, one of the most comprehensive and dependable collection of Italian dishes there is.
As I was cooking for two, I halved the amount of chicken, substituting four thighs for a whole chicken cut into eight pieces, but otherwise, for the most part, stuck to the recipe. I did after all have to use up those potatoes.
Because my potatoes took considerably more time to reach the tender stage than called for by the original recipe, when the chicken was nicely browned, I removed it from the pan, covered it, and let the potatoes cook on their own until they were done.
Although the dish took longer than expected, the end result was well worth the wait. Served with a southern Italian white or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, this is a perfect week-night meal and, as my patient husband noted, one of the best versions of Italian chicken-with-lemon that we’ve ever had.
Baked Chicken with Potatoes and Lemon (adapted from Michele Scicolone’s 1,000 Italian Recipes)
2 medium lemons
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
2 garlic cloves chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1. With the oven rack at the middle level, preheat the oven to 450°F. Oil a shallow roasting large enough to hold all the ingredients in a single layer.
2. Cut one lemon into thin slices and squeeze the juice of the other lemon into a medium bowl.
3. To the bowl, add the oil, rosemary, garlic, and some salt and pepper. (Reserve most of your seasoning for the chicken thighs.)
4. With paper towels, pat the chicken thighs dry and then season both sides with salt and pepper.
5. In the oiled roasting pan, place the thighs in a single layer. Pour the lemon-juice mixture over the thighs and turn them to coat both sides. After coating, leave the thighs skin side up.
6. Tuck the potatoes and lemon slices between the thighs. (Don’t over crowd the pan; if you have too many potatoes, as I did, roast them drizzled with some olive oil along with chopped rosemary, salt and pepper.)
7. Bake the chicken for 45 minutes. Baste with the pan juices.
8. Continue to bake, basting occasionally for 15 minutes to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is brown and the potatoes are tender. If the chicken is brown before the potatoes are tender, remove the chicken to a warm platter and cover. Continue to cook until the potatoes are lightly browned and tender. (My chicken was done after 1 hour; but the potatoes required almost another 30 minutes of cooking.)
9. Plate the chicken, potatoes, and lemon slices and drizzle with the pan juices.
Wine Pairing: Falanghina, Sauvignon Blanc