7-Ingredient Chicken and Potato Bake Recipe: A whole chicken placed on a bed of thick sliced Yukan gold potatoes roasted in the oven. Potatoes get creamy as they roast with the help of the drippings from the chicken. This Whole30 and Paleo friendly recipe is made with only 7 ingredients and requires 15-20 minutes of hands on time.
I was provided with a copy of How To Roast Everything Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen to write this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.
I don’t know about you, but for me there is no better comfort food than a whole roasted chicken. Lately, with weather being so cold and spring is nowhere in sight, I have been relying on my oven to provide us with meals. I love the ease of roasting various vegetables and meats in the oven and having a flavorful dinner in no time.
Speaking of roasting, today’s recipe, this Chicken and Potato Bake comes from America’s Test Kitchen’s new cookbook, How to Roast Everything. As it is usually the case, their new book is a great source of information for everything you need to know about roasting meats and vegetables.
Below, I will be sharing a few things I learned from the book (that I did not know before) related to buying and prepping chicken for roasting, but let’s first talk about this recipe.
About This 7-Ingredient Chicken and Potato Bake:
As the name of the title suggests, this recipe is only made with 7 ingredients; potatoes, fresh thyme, paprika, garlic, oil, lemon, and of course, chicken. It is essentially a one-pan roasted chicken and potatoes dish.
The process is pretty simple. You rub the chicken with thyme-paprika-garlic-oil mixture and place it on a bed of thick sliced Yukan Gold potatoes. It roasts in a 400-degree oven for a little more than an hour. As the chicken roasts on top, its drippings get soaked up by the potatoes at the bottom. The end result is a comforting and filling dinner that you can make with only 15-20 minutes of hands on time.
Brining versus Salting Chicken:
Let’s face it, while a whole roasted chicken can be the best comfort food, it has a potential of being a blend and flavorless meal if it is not properly seasoned. Folks at the America’s Test Kitchen offers two options for seasoning chicken properly: Salting and brining.
How To Salt Chicken:
First option is adding salt into the rub. The following is from the book (page 23):
“Sprinkling meat with salt and letting it sit for a while before cooking is similar to brining. As the meat sits, the salt is absorbed by the meat which both seasons it and helps alter the protein structure. Compared to brining, salting is the best choice for meats that are relatively juicy and/or well marbled.”
To do so, you basically add Kosher salt into the oil-garlic-spice mixture, rub it all over the chicken including under its skin, and let it sit on the counter (uncovered) as you prep the potatoes. They recommend using Diamond Kosher salt as they find that it is easier to distribute evenly to Morton Kosher salt.
How To Brine Chicken:
Second option is brining the chicken. Again, the following is from the book(page 22):
“Brining means soaking meat in a solution of water and salt before cooking. The meat absorbs the brine as it soaks and then retains it during cooking, which improves both its flavor and tenderness. On a molecular level, the salt water fills up gaps in the protein structure and stays there during cooking.”
To do so, you dissolve half a cup of table salt in a large bucket filled with water and submerge the meat completely in the brine. For a 3-4 pounds of chicken (like I used in this recipe), they recommend letting it sit only for 1 hour (do not brine for longer or it will become overly salted). At the end of that time, you remove it from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. There is no need to rinse the chicken.
If you choose to brine your chicken, you do not need to add salt into your rub mixture.
My Favorite Method:
Before publishing it here on the blog, I made this recipe 3 times. On my first try, I used the first method and added the salt into the rubbing mixture. And then on my second try, I brined it. In the end, while they were both great, I thought that the brined version was better seasoned, more moist and flavorful.
That is why, I wrote the recipe below with the brining method. I agree that it is a little bit of an additional work (both time-wise and cleaning-wise), but I personally think that the end result was totally worth it.
If you want to get more information on brining and salting chicken, this article from Cooks Illustrated Magazine is very helpful.
Two Things I learned From The Book That I Did Not Know Before:
As in everything America’s Test Kitchen publishes, How To Roast Everything is a great source for roasting meats and vegetables. In the beginning of the book, they talk about the details of each type of meat and vegetables along with some helpful trivia-type information. The two below are things that I learned from the book that I did not know before:
When buying chicken should I buy “air-chilled”? And what is that mean?
I think the below paragraph from the book (page 3) answers this question best:
“How the chicken was processed makes a big difference in its flavor and texture once cooked. Avoid chickens that have been “water-chilled” (soaked in a waterbath in which they absorb up to 14 percent their weight in water) or “enhanced” (injected with broth and flavoring) because they will have a spongy texture; the water gain must be shown on the product label, so these should be easy to identify. Instead, look for chicken that has been “air-chilled”. Without the excess water weight, we found these chickens to be less spongy (but still plenty juicy) and to taste more chicken-y.”
Should I rinse chicken (or poultry in general) before cooking/roasting?
I learned from my mother that I should always wash my chicken before roasting. Come to find out that was wrong. The following is from the book (page 4):
“Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and The FDA advise against washing poultry. According to their research, while rinsing may remove some bacteria, the only way to ensure that all bacteria are killed is through proper cooking.”
They also did a blind taste-test on rinsed and un-rinsed chickens and their tasters could not tell the difference.
Want to Win A Copy of The Book?
If you have read this far, I am assuming that (1) you are like me, a big fan of America’s Test Kitchen and (2) I was able to peak you interest in this awesome cookbook. If I am right, I hope you will be happy to hear that folks over there is allowing me to give 3 copies of this book to one of my readers.
If you are interested, please write a comment below and share your best tip on roasting meats and vegetables with me and with my other readers. The giveaway is open until April 16th, 2018 12 PM Eastern time and only open to US residents.
Good luck friends!
Chicken and Potato Bake
7-Ingredient Chicken and Potato Bake Recipe: A whole chicken placed on a bed of thick sliced Yukan gold potatoes roasted in the oven. Potatoes get creamy as they roast with the help of the drippings from the chicken. This Whole30 and Paleo friendly recipe is made with only 7 ingredients and requires 15 minutes of hands on time.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 1 hour 15 min
- Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Roasting
- Cuisine: American
- 1 (3 ½ – to 4 pounds) whole chicken, giblets discarded
- Salt and black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges for serving
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into 1-inch thick pieces
- To brine the chicken: Fill a large bucket with 2 quarts water and ½ cup table salt. Give it a mix to dissolve salt. Submerge the whole chicken completely in the brine. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 1 hour. * Do not let it sit longer as it will be too salty.
- Remove the chicken from the brine and pat-dry with paper towels.
- Adjust oven-rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, garlic, thyme, paprika, and lemon zest.
- Using your fingers or handle of a spoon, gently loosen the skin of the chicken from breast and thighs making sure to not tear the skin. Rub oil mixture all over the chicken and underneath skin of the breast, directly onto the meat. Tie legs together and tuck wings behind back. Set aside.
- Toss potatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Arrange them flat sides down in single layer in an oven-safe 12-inch nonstick skillet*. Place it over medium-heat and cook without moving them for 7-9 minutes or until lightly brown on the bottom.
- Place chicken, breast side up, on top of potatoes and transfer it to the oven. Let it roast for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until breast registers 160 degrees when a thermometer is inserted in the middle.
- Remove skillet from the oven and transfer chicken to a carving board and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Carve chicken and serve with potatoes and lemon wedges.
Please read the blog post for ways on seasoning the chicken properly.