Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Onions - Easy

Another one of my favorite bloggers posted a recipe from one of her favorite chefs, Thomas Keller.  To my shame, I never heard of him (although I have heard of his restaurants The French Laundry and Per Se, to name a few), but if this simple yet mind-blowingly fantastic recipes is any proof, I absolutely have to get my hands on his cookbooks.

The blogger (channeling Keller) explained that the secret to roasting a chicken with mad-crispy skin is (TIP ALERT!):  dry the chicken thoroughly before roasting.  The steam that results from even a hint of moisture prevents a crisp skin.


Oh, yeah, and lots of kosher salt.

Now, I'm no fancy-schmancy chef, but if the chicken is cooked on a bed of onions, don't the onions release more than a tiny bit of steam as they cook?  :\

Anyway, the recipe calls for a lot more salt than I usually add, which is usually none since kashered chickens have some residual salt.  But I figured, try anyway, the worst that could happen is that I have to remove the skin before diving in, which is what I normally do anyway.

But after the initial shock of salt on my tongue, I was pleasantly surprised by the paradox of how not horrendously salty the crisp skin tasted.

The original recipe called for peeling the potatoes, but I wanted to make the potatoes a bit healthier felt lazy and left the skins on.  It also called for serving with fresh chopped thyme and dijon mustard, but I forgot about both and didn't missed them, so they are omitted from my version below.

The original uses a whole uncut-up chicken.  I prefer to use one of the cut-up persuasion because it cooks faster.  If you prefer long and slow or are serving this for company, use a whole chicken, trussed up so it cooks more evenly, then dial up the oven temp to 450F and increase roasting time to 50-60 minutes.

Oh, and one more thing.  I misread the recipe and used a half a stick of margarine (that's FOUR tablespoons, bub) in my non-stick pan instead of 2 tablespoons.  The result was a bit greasy, although no one seemed to mind.  As Gordon Gecko has said, "Grease is good."  Or something like that, anyway ...

Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Onions 
Adapted from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy
Serves 4

2-3  Tbl. margarine
3 large or 4 small-to-medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 large onion
One  chicken, cut into eighths
1 Tbl. Kosher salt 

1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F.   Place margarine (use 2 Tbl. if non-stick pan, otherwise use the entire 3) in a roasting pan large enough for the chicken parts not to overlap.  Stick pan in oven while pre-heating  to melt the margarine.  

While oven is heating, thinly slice the potatoes and onions.  

When margarine is melted, remove pan from oven and carefully layer the potatoes around the bottom of the pan, completely covering it evenly.  Scatter onions evenly over potatoes.  

Rinse the chicken, then dry it as completely as possible using paper towels.  Carefully place chicken in a single layer over the vegetables.  Sprinkle salt evenly over the chicken. Then sprinkle with pepper. 

Return pan to oven. Roast (without basting, didn't I say this was easy?) until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through, about 45 minutes. 

Remove from oven and let rest in the pan for 5-10 minutes.

Serve with the potatoes and onions.


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