Roasted Chicken + Warm Kitchen = Home

roasted chickenSo I’ve made a move from my beautiful Colorado life, with never-ending blue skies, snow-capped Pikes Peak in my backyard, breaths and breaths of the freshest mountain air, and delicious water drunk right from the tap. It was a move prompted by a new job and a lot of new opportunity (both professional and personal). And…the move was to the city. I swapped suburban for urban, and moved right into the heart of Pittsburgh, which, interestingly, has shed its smoky-industrial-city image and emerged as a leader in green building, medicine and technology. Nature is not lost here, with its three rivers and rolling hills. There’s great architecture and the people are wonderful, but moving really is awful and leaving a place where I thought I’d live forever has been tougher than I imagined.

There is one thing that remains the same, though. No matter where you are, cooking and meal-making puts things into perspective and gives you that lovely cozy feeling that comes with one word — home. That’s how I felt yesterday. I’ve been noticing the change in temperature lately, and on my walk home the thought came to mind that there is nothing more kitchen-warming than a chicken supper slowly roasting away. I stopped at the market before bee-lining to my Victorian house in search of a favorite blue casserole yet to be unpacked. I found the heavy Le Creuset cast iron piece quicker than I imagined possible — ah, when you have a purpose…

This casserole is the perfect baking pan for a dish that involves cooking the entrée and side together. The chicken, potatoes and onions roast at the same time to a golden brown and a juicy tender. I made a Greek-tinged marinade to add some vibrancy, and with the chicken on top, the vegetables ended up completely infused with a deep, savory flavor. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

A few tips:

  • Cut the potatoes into smaller pieces that will roast at the same rate that the chicken cooks.
  • Don’t put too many potatoes and onions into the casserole; you will need plenty of space for everything to crisp and caramelize instead of steam.
  • Personally, I absolutely love this dish cooked with bone-in thighs because the chicken stays juicy while the potatoes are browning.
  • If you want to use white meant, use bone-in breasts.
  • Oh, and lastly, don’t be shy about seasoning! I use a mix of seasonings to create a Greek taste, but you can substitute all those individual herbs with a manufacturer’s brand of Greek seasoning, or you could also use Herbes de Provence for a French taste.
  • Enjoy the leftovers as lunch the next day!

 

 

RECIPE:

Vinaigrette:
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T olive oil
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp Greek seasoning (see below, or use a commercially bought one)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 lbs chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb small round potatoes (red or golden, cut into quarters
1/2 large onion
Greek Seasoning:
2 t salt
2 t garlic
1 t lemon peel
1/2 t citric acid
2 t Greek oregano
1 t mint leaves (spearmint also works)
1 t black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. In a small bowl, mix vinegar, olive oil, mustard, seasonings.
3. Spray bottom and sides of baking pan with oil.
4. Place quartered small potatoes over bottom of baking dish.  Distribute the sliced onions over the potatoes.Sprinkle with olive oil, and s&p.
5. Place the chicken thighs, skin-side up, on top of these root veggies.
6. Using a cooking brush, spread the vinaigrette over the chicken, brushing both the top of the skin and the undersides of the chicken thighs.
7. Bake at 375F for one hour. Using a knife, slice into the largest thigh to see if cooked through. if the potatoes need more time, remove the chicken to a plate and cook for 10 minutes at a time, checking potatoes after each 10 minute interval.
Happy Cooking!

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