Impress yourself and your guests with this Cast-Iron Roast Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes, Leeks, and Bacon. Once prep is out of the way, just pop the skillet with everything in it into the oven, and presto, an hour later it’s ready! Although you do have to let the chicken rest for 15 minutes for the juices to redistribute allowing you time to make a side salad if desired; or a sip or two of your chilled white wine.
Sautéing the leeks and garlic before layering them with the potatoes renders them meltingly tender and slightly caramelized. The roast chicken on top comes out incredibly juicy, with delicate herbal notes. And what a showstopper with that gorgeous crispy browned skin!
Prior to roasting, the fingerling potatoes need to be cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, the leeks sliced and thoroughly rinsed, and your herbs prepped as noted below. Then combine the softened butter with the chopped thyme to make a rub for the chicken (both inside and outside the skin if you like).
As there were only the two of us for dinner, we had plenty of leftovers. But instead of just reheating the dinner as is, we used the poultry meat in Chicken Enchiladas a few nights later; the remaining potato mixture in a frittata; and the rib cage and bones to make more homemade chicken stock–even leaving the chopped leeks and herbs in the cavity! Now that’s getting our money’s worth!
Another fabulous cast-iron chicken dish, the Cast-Iron Roast Chicken with Winter Squash, Red Onions, and Pancetta, can be found at this link.
Roast Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes, Leeks and Bacon
- 1 3-1/2- to 4-lb. whole chicken
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley, plus 10 small sprigs
- 4 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme, plus 4 sprigs
- 4 large leeks, white and light-green parts halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise into 3/8-inch pieces (about 4 cups) and rinsed; dark-green parts from 1 leek rinsed and reserved
- 3 strips thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise 3/8-inch thick
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1-1/2 lb. large fingerling potatoes, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
- 1-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
- Discard the giblets from the chicken, trim off any excess fat from the cavity and neck, and pat dry with paper towels. Generously season the chicken inside and out with 1 Tbs. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
- Stuff the cavity with the parsley sprigs, 3 of the bay leaves (if fresh, crush lightly), 2 sprigs of thyme, and the dark leek greens. Tuck the wings behind the neck of the chicken, using the wing tips to secure any loose neck skin, if necessary. Tie the legs together with string. Let rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.
- In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, cook the bacon in the oil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Leaving the bacon in the pan, spoon out and reserve all but 1 Tbs. fat.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the leeks, garlic, and the remaining bay leaf and thyme sprigs, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- In the same pan, arrange half of the potatoes in an even layer, season very lightly with salt and pepper, then scatter the leek mixture over top. Layer the remaining potatoes over the leeks, and season very lightly with salt and pepper. Pour the broth over the vegetables.
- Pour 1 Tbs. of the reserved bacon fat into the cavity of the chicken. Rub the softened butter over the bird’s skin, and sprinkle with the chopped thyme. Set the chicken, breast side up, on the vegetables.
- Roast the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F to 170°F, about 1 hour.
- Transfer the chicken to a platter, remove the string, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and keep the vegetables warm in the turned-off oven.
- Sprinkle the potatoes with the chopped parsley, arrange them around the chicken, and serve.
Our chicken weighed in at 4 1/4 pounds so after an hour, the breast meat was done but the legs weren’t quite at temp. So Russ removed them, placed them on top of the skillet potatoes and inserted back into the oven while the chicken rested. This not only crisped the leg skin, but also more of the potato surface.
Adapted from a recipe by Arlene Jacobs from Fine Cooking