Five-Star Weeknight Chicken

This classic, comforting dish (who doesn’t love succulent roast chicken?) takes a bit longer that the usual 3o minutes, but it’s almost entirely hands-off. Now Baked Chicken with Herbs, Garlic and Shallots is sure to be a staple of our weeknight dinner repertoire.

It’s unbelievably easy, resulting in beautifully crisped flavorful chicken! And the aromas while cooking are to die for. You may want to, as we did, add additional garlic and shallots because once roasted they are heavenly. Don’t overcrowd the baking dish, use lots of kosher salt and you will be rewarded with crispy chicken and nicely roasted garlic cloves that can be slathered onto warm crusty bread. If you prefer soft, creamy garlic, make sure to tuck the cloves under the chicken parts.

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Vary the herbs as you like, but stick to the hardy ones—thyme, rosemary, sage, and oregano. They’ll roast without burning and have a stronger flavor. While the instructions don’t mention chopping the herbs, I did give them a rough chop because the narrow pointed rosemary leaves were quite large.

The recipe calls for a whole chicken, and that’s what we use because Russ likes to cut out the back and keep the neck—to add to our bag of chicken parts in the freezer—and save for making stock at a future date. Plus, he likes the dark meat, I, the white. You could save time by buying pre-cut chicken parts, just remember to reduce the roasting time by about 10 minutes.

The next time we make this, and I’m sure it will be soon, we will add a 1/2 cup chicken stock to mix with the pan juices, and then bring the liquid to a boil and reduce in a small pan to make jus.

Our side was a Warm Potato and Watercress Salad (recipe follows chicken recipe) that paired well with the chicken and can be roasted in the same oven. Once the potatoes are removed from the oven, simply toss them in the homemade vinaigrette, add the greens until a bit wilted, and divide directly onto the dinner plates, not need to dirty another bowl.

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Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (3-1/2 to 4 lb.), cut into quarters
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 medium shallots, cut in half and peeled
  • 8 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • Leaves stripped from 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Leaves stripped from 8 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1-1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

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The chicken pieces are rubbed in the butter, herbs and oil and well salted.

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut away any excess fat and tuck the wings behind each breast.
  2. Put the butter into a large, shallow baking pan (the 10-1/2×15-1/2-inch Pyrex pan is ideal for this). Put the pan into the oven while it’s heating. When the butter is melted (about 10 minutes), remove the pan and set it on a heatproof surface or on a couple of potholders.
  3. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and swirl the pan to coat the ingredients in the butter.
  4. Dredge the chicken, skin side down, in the butter and herb mixture, and arrange, skin side up, in the pan. Sprinkle the chicken generously with the salt and pepper. Bake until the chicken is browned and cooked through, 50 to 60 minutes. (Ours was done after 50 minutes.)
  5. Serve with the shallots and garlic along with a drizzle of the pan drippings.

by Abigail Johnson Dodge from Fine Cooking

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Just look at these gorgeous little purple potatoes getting happy in olive oil and salt.

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Olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper make up the ingredients for the vinaigrette.

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Whisk the dressing ingredients well before tossing with the roasted potatoes.

Warm Potato and Watercress Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches stemmed watercress
  • 9 oz. fingerling potatoes, any color
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Halve the fingerling potatoes and toss them with the olive oil and salt. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the same oven as the chicken, putting them in the oven 20 minutes before the chicken is done. Turn the potatoes after 10 minutes and cook another 10 minutes (20 minutes total) until golden brown and tender.
  2. Meanwhile make a simple vinaigrette with the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper; whisk well.
  3. When the potatoes are done, pour some of the dressing over them on the hot baking sheet and toss. Add stemmed watercress and toss until it starts to wilt. Season with salt and pepper and serve with additional dressing on the side if desired.
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