Pan Roasted Chicken


PAN-ROASTED CHICKEN WITH LEMON POTATOES

Serves Four

This dish can replace your usual roast chicken. Pan-roasting the pieces allows you to achieve much crisper skin than a straight oven roast. It will also drastically cut down on the cooking time. Partially boning the chicken helps to accomplish both of these goals. It is something you can ask your butcher to do, if he or she likes you. Don’t skip the brining process—when we take away the bones, we need to replace their missing flavor with the brine. And for the best flavor and the crispiest skin, I suggest you marinate the chicken too, preferably overnight, but certainly for at least 4 hours. If you take these steps, it will be well worth the effort. This recipe uses water, but good chicken stock yields a tastier final product.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (31/2-pound) chicken, preferably free range or pasture-raised
  • Brine and marinade for Souvlaki
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons blended oil (90 percent canola, 10 percent extra-virgin olive)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and thickly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dry Greek oregano
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Purée or cold, unsalted butter (optional)
  • Small handful torn fresh herbs, such as dill, mint, and/or parsley
Directions:
  1. First, bone the chicken: trim off the first two joints of the wings. With kitchen shears, cut down on either side of chicken’s backbone and remove it. Open out the chicken with the breast-side down and make a shallow cut on either side of the keel bone (central cartilage). Trim the rest of it away with a sharp knife. Cut the chicken in half through the remaining breastbone. Remove the wishbone. Cut through the leg-thigh joints without slicing through the skin. Pop out the thigh bones, then cut along the top and scrape down and remove them, leaving the drumstick bones intact. Leave the breast and thigh connected by the skin. Save all the bones in the freezer, for stock. Brine the chicken overnight.
  2. Marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Cover it with plastic wrap and press the plastic down onto the surface, to exclude air.
  3. Bring the chicken to room temperature. Meanwhile, put the potatoes into a small pot of liberally salted cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain well and slice 1/2 inch thick. Reserve.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lift the chicken pieces from the marinade, allowing the liquid to drain away. Season the skin with a little kosher salt and pepper. In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, heat a thin film of blended oil over high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the chicken halves skin-side down and don’t move them at all until you get a nice golden sear, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over and cook for 2 minutes more. Spoon off some of the fat and turn the chicken pieces skin-side down once again. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a second pan, heat a thin film of extra-virgin olive oil. Add the peppers and sauté until softened. Add the potatoes, lemon slices, and oregano and continue to sauté until golden brown.
  6. Transfer the chicken to absorbent paper, on a platter, skin-side up. Keep warm, uncovered, in the turned-off oven. Discard most of the fat from the skillet and place over medium-high heat. Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and water. Stir in the Garlic Purée or butter and lemon slices and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables and pan juices to a large platter and place the chicken on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and scatter with the fresh herbs.

* Instead of serving with peppers and potatoes, shred the cooked chicken and toss with some cooked orzo, pitted black olives, strips of roasted pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and fresh herbs, and perhaps some caperberries or pepperoncini. Now you’ve got a fantastic Greek chicken salad.

* If you use store-bought imported red peppers, don’t add them until the potatoes are golden and you’ve deglazed the pan.

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