Last week my friend Sarah forwarded me a baked chicken recipe from her boyfriend Chris, who cooks like many of the men I know, from what I can tell: infrequently but with great pride. She wanted to know how to incorporate the leeks I’d saddled her with into his recipe, and it sounded so darn good I had to try it, albeit with fresh oregano and real garlic.
Of course, I recommended throwing a few chopped leeks right into the roasting pan with the chicken and potatoes and lemon halves, but as I took my own chicken out of the oven, I realize I’d forgotten the leeks entirely. Which is just as well, because all those leeks in my garden – remember those? – I think they might be garlic.
Unfortunately, I roasted beets on the rack above the chicken, and it just about stole that poor chicken’s thunder. No golden, perfectly crisped skin, just regular, everyday-looking almost-browned chicken. Luckily I didn’t get stubborn and continue cooking it until it was brown; it had that juicy, tender quality of poached chicken that’ll make you swear never to touch overcooked chicken again. Tito pointed out that underbrowning chicken skin does prevent me from eating it after dinner, standing up at the stove while he starts in on the dishes, like I usually do.
Squeeze any residual juice out of the hot, roasted lemons onto the chicken as you eat it, and mop up that good lemon-oregano gravy with, say, EBC’s rosemary bread.
Recipe for Chris’s Baked Chicken with Potatoes, Lemons, and Oregano
Recipe 149 of 365
Although I’ve never tasted it in his kitchen, this is one of my friend Chris’s go-to recipes, and his girlfriend Sarah raved about it enough to convince me to try it myself. Here’s my formalized and measured version, using fresh oregano and leaving the garlic cloves whole, so they morph into the ideal spread for the fresh, crusty bread you’ll inevitably use to mop your plates.
Chris lines his pan with aluminum foil because he loathes the clean-up involved, but I didn’t have any trouble with clean-up – in fact, the lemony brown fonds that stick to the bottom of the pan are the very best part.
TIME: 15 minutes active time
MAKES: 4 to 6 servings
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
2 pounds small red new potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup (packed) finely chopped fresh oregano
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the chicken and the potatoes in a large roasting pan. (If your roasting pan has an insert with holes in it, set it aside – you won’t need the insert.) Drizzle the chicken with the olive oil, and use your hands to coat the potatoes and all sides of the chicken pieces with a thin layer of the oil. Add the garlic and season everything liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. Turn the chicken breasts meat side-up. Sprinkle the oregano over everything. Roll the lemons on the counter under the palm of your hand to get their juices flowing, then cut them in half, seed them, squeeze their juices over the chicken and potatoes, and add the lemons to the pan as well.
Roast the chicken for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken measures 165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. Transfer the chicken and potatoes to a platter, and drizzle with any juices and brown bits that have accumulated in the bottom of the pan. Serve hot.