Most home chefs I know love a good traybake. They’re easy, typically don’t require much prep, and all of the ingredients go on one baking sheet. Plus it’s pretty much hands off until the cooking is done. And unless you don’t eat poultry, there’s not many folks I know that don’t appreciate a good roast chicken and potato dinner. Trust me on this one.
Found in our latest edition of Milk Street Magazine, this meal-in-one is an adaptation of a recipe in “The Palestinian Table” by Reem Kassis. In lieu of seasoning the chicken and potatoes with the Kassis family’s nine-spice blend, they make a simpler mixture from a few select ground spices.
And to make a simple but flavorful sauce, roast a handful of garlic cloves with the chicken and potatoes, then mash the softened cloves with pan drippings and deglaze with water (or homemade chicken stock).
Dark, syrupy pomegranate molasses, which we’ve been using a lot lately, has a fruity, floral, tart-sweet taste that complements the fragrant spices, as well as the caramelization that results from roasting. It was easy enough to find the molasses in the international aisle of our supermarket. You could also try a Middle Eastern grocery store, or online. (If not available, substitute with 1 teaspoon each lemon juice and honey in the seasoning mixture and serve with lemon wedges.)
Don’t use boneless, skinless chicken parts, as they will overcook. Also, make sure to put the garlic cloves at the center of the baking sheet, where they’re protected from the oven’s high heat, so they don’t wind up scorched.
You’ll notice we made two trays full. One, because I had five pounds of chicken pieces to use up, plus we wanted leftovers for another meal. Because we LOVE garlic, I increased the amount substantially. But in the end, the garlic was not quite as soft as anticipated so we used an immersion blender, doubling the amount of liquid, (using our homemade chicken broth instead of water) to make the sauce. Dang glad we did, because everything was delicious!
It didn’t mention to, but you should turn the potato wedges halfway through the cooking time. Ours got a bit too charred so I made a notation in the directions below as a reminder.
Garlicky Chicken and Potato Traybake with Pomegranate Molasses
- ¼ Cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. pomegranate molasses (see note), plus more to serve
- 1 Tbsp. ground allspice
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp. ground cardamom Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 3 Lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken parts, trimmed and patted dry
- 1½ Lbs. medium to large red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1½-inch-thick wedges
- 8 Medium garlic cloves, peeled (more to preference)
- Fresh flat-leaf parsley, to serve
- In a large bowl, stir together the oil, molasses, allspice, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, 4 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken and potatoes, then toss to coat. Set aside at room temperature while the oven heats.
- Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position.
- Place the garlic cloves in the center of a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the chicken parts, skin up, around the garlic; this prevents the garlic from scorching during roasting.
- Arrange the potatoes evenly around the chicken. Roast until the thickest part of the breast (if using) reaches about 160°F and the thickest part of the largest thigh/leg (if using) reaches about 175°F, 30 to 40 minutes. (It’s a very hot oven, so check the temperature after 25 minutes.)
- Halfway through (about 15 minutes), turn the potato wedges so that they get equally crisp on both sides and not overly charred on one side.
- Using tongs, transfer the chicken and potatoes to a platter, leaving the garlic on the baking sheet. With a fork, mash the garlic until relatively smooth.
- Carefully pour ¼ cup water (we doubled the amount of liquid using homemade stock) onto the baking sheet, then use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper, then pour over the chicken and potatoes. (Like us, you may want to use an immersion blender to make a more unified sauce.)
- Drizzle with additional pomegranate molasses and sprinkle with parsley.
Adaptation of a recipe in “The Palestinian Table” by Reem Kassis