Roasted Chicken with Tomatoes, Potatoes and Olives

Have I talked about my Le Crueset yet? I love him. He makes everything better. He sears beautifully and roasts beautifully and stews beautifully. He can even bake bread beautifully and looks gorgeous when he goes straight from the oven to the table. And best of all, he cleans beautifully. So, when you end up with lemons stuck to the bottom of your pan, as I did recently, you need not worry!

I was craving chicken and potatoes but something not-too heavy. I wanted lemons and rosemary. Rosemary is my favorite herb and also flourishing in my window; despite this, I find I don’t use it nearly as often as I should. It should have been easy to just roast up all of those things, but I tend to like a base recipe. You know, to remind me what the temperature should be and maybe cooking times. I rarely cook without at least a suggestion of a recipe.  I imagine that’s something I’ll get over eventually, but for now, I’m cool with it. A quick search of epicurious and I ended up with this.

How pretty is that!? It was exactly what I wanted. Homey and fresh and garlicky-good. Chop, toss it all together in one pan, and roast-my favorite type of recipe, really; basically the only type of recipe I bother with from September through March. And I mean, HOW PRETTY!? Finding those purple potatoes is worth it just for the effect.

I made some changes to the original recipe and I’ll make more next time. If I had noticed that there were no onions in here, and wasn’t rushing because I was hangry, I would have added big hunks of them. If I had any on hand, I would have tossed in some white wine. Come to think of it, I should have added some ouzo; this dish is, after-all, is fairly greek in personality. Along the same lines, I think fennel would be an amazing addition.  Will this recipe blow your socks off? Probably not. But is it tasty and comforting and easy as pie? Absolutely. And does it bridge this tightrope-month between summer and fall perfectly? You know it.

Roasted Chicken with Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Olives

Adapted from Gourmet; Serves 4

You don’t need a dutch oven for this recipe, but if you have one, clean-up is a breeze. I subbed green olives for the kalamatas originally called for-I think it was the right decision- and I didn’t bother pitting them. Reviewers of the original recipe mentioned that the veggies seemed underdone in the allotted time. I also found this to be the case, so you have two options: slice the potatoes instead of quartering them or remove the chicken when it’s done and let the potatoes continue to cook (my tactic). I have no problems with cutting into chicken to check for doneness, but really, an instant-read thermometer is so much simpler. If you don’t have one, pick one up-they only cost a few bucks. Finally, the original recipe has you remove the lemons; I love no idea why you would do that. They’re soft and flavorful and the cooking has mellowed their bitterness. I ate them along with everything else.

7 garlic cloves, divided
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 lg lemons, sliced thin
2 whole chicken breast with skin, halved (You can use bone-in or boneless)
1.5-2 pound small potatoes, quartered or cut into eighths, depending on size
8 plum tomatoes halved, lengthwise
20ish green olives, pitted or not
1 T fresh rosemary leaves plus 2 sprigs rosemary

  • Heat oven to 450°F
  • Grate 2 garlic cloves on a microplane. Whisk grated garlic with lemon juice, 2 T. olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside
  • Lay sliced lemons in bottom of roasting pan or dutch oven, overlapping so that the whole bottom is covered
  • Place chicken breast halves on lemons, skin side up, and brush with garlic/lemon marinade. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper
  • Toss potatoes, tomatoes, 5 whole garlic cloves, 1 T. olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
  • Arrange veggies around chicken (I had too many veggies so my chicken was basically covered, which explains why my skin didn’t crisp)
  • Add olives, chopped rosemary and whole rosemary sprigs
  • Roast for 15 min, then brush the chicken with the remaining garlic/lemon/oil
  • Roast until chicken reaches 170°F (about 15 min)
  • Stab the potatoes with a fork, if they aren’t done yet, return just the veggies to the oven until they’re done (about 15-20 more min for me)


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