Roasted chicken and potatoes is pretty much the definition of simple comfort food, and over the years I’ve tried to perfect it with many different methods….you name it, I’ve probably tried it. After much trial and error, I think I’ve settled on my favourite way to prepare it, so give it a try and see if you agree with me that this is the ultimate roasted chicken.
Whole chicken, salt (that’s whats in the mug), sugar, butter, parsley, olive oil, garlic, lemons, onion, potatoes, pepper, and Mrs. Dash (original blend).
First, we have to make the brine. What’s does brining mean, you ask? It’s the process of soaking meat in a solution of salt (and in this case, sugar) and a liquid (usually water). I could give you the long scientific explanation of why this works, but all you need to know is that this is going to help the meat be evenly seasoned, moist, and tender. I know what you’re thinking – is brining really necessary? Yes, it is. Very, very important, especially because we’re going to roast the chicken at a really high temperature and not brining it will result in dry meat. I use a very concentrated brine because I don’t want to have to devote hours to the process, but if you don’t have time to let it brine for an hour just buy a kosher chicken – they’re already salted and are a good substitute.
Back to the brine – dissolve 1/2 c of table salt + 1/2 c of sugar in 2L of cold water, and set it aside while you get the chicken ready.
We’re going to butterfly the chicken. Have you ever done that before? It’s really easy. Essentially what you’re doing is removing the backbone and opening and flattening the bird. This not helps everything cook faster by ensuring greater exposure to the heat and it also guarantees crispy skin as the entire bird.
Ok, so back to the butterflying – here’s how you do it:
Cut through the bones on either side of the backbone using kitchen shears on a knife. Flip the chicken over and use the heel of your hand to flatten the breastbone.
That’s it! Now dunk the chicken in the brine and let it hang out in the fridge for an hour.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to prepping our potatoes, shall we?
Peel and cube up some potatoes, and then submerge in cold, salted water.
Throw in a whole lemon (yes, you read it right)…
…and then separate and peel a whole head of garlic, and throw the cloves in there too. I know what you’re thinking – is she crazy?!?! Well perhaps, but that’s not the point. Throwing the lemon and garlic in the water with the potatoes will help infuse them with flavour…at least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Don’t boil the potatoes yet though!
Line a casserole dish with tin foil, and add a coarsely chopped onion. Set aside, and then make the rub for the chicken.
In a food processor (or bowl), chop up a handful of parsley, a few cloves of garlic, and the zest of one lemon. If you want to add some other herbs – rosemary and thyme are both great – go ahead and add them now.Once everything is chopped, add in about 2 TBSP of butter, and then drizzle with olive oil until it forms a paste. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Are you tired yet? I hope not, but if you are, don’t worry, we’re almost done! We still have a bit of time to go before the chicken will be ready to go in the oven, so go ahead and take advantage of this chance to have a nap go do your laundry, wash your floors, and organize your closet.
After the chicken has been brining for about 50 minutes, turn the potatoes on and bring them to a boil. We want them to boil for about 10 minutes total. Don’t worry about cooking them all the way through; we just want them to be partially cooked but seasoned with the lemon and garlic.
Once an hour has elapsed, remove the chicken from the brine and rinse it really well under cold running water. Since there was sugar in the brine, if the chicken isn’t rinsed it will burn. Dry it really well with paper towels while you drain the potatoes.
(Sidenote: If you have the time, brine the chicken the night before, rinse and dry it, and let it dry uncovered in the fridge overnight. All of the surface moisture will evaporate, and the skin will be extra-crispy.)
Remove the lemon from the pot, and then drain the potatoes and add them to the roasting pan. Slice the lemon (careful – its going to be really hot!) and toss with potatoes. Add a few pats of butter if you feel so inclined.
Lay the chicken on top of the potatoes. Smoosh a few TBSP of the rub between the breast meat and skin, and then spread the rest over the entire bird. Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash.
Roast at 500 degrees for about 30 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 450 degrees and continue roasting for about 30 minutes longer or until the thermometer registers 160 degrees in the thickest part of the breast.
Remove the chicken and allow it to rest on a cutting board while tented with foil. Broil the potatoes for about 10 minutes while the chicken is resting. The potatoes will have pretty much mashed themselves by this point, but we want to brown the top a bit.
Does this look good or what?!?!
Go make this chicken. Today. You can thank me later for the marriage proposals that will inevitably come your way.