Pssst…want to know a secret? We were really apprehensive about tackling this meal. You see, our parents’ chicken and potatoes are epic. They get requests from
all over the world lots of people for their recipe and they are really happy to tell anyone who asks, including us, how it’s done. They say something along the lines of ‘take a chicken, add some potatoes to the roasting pan, pour in some lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and bake it all for a few hours’. Easy, right? So, we try, and it tastes good…but not phenomenal. Not mind-blowing delicious, like theirs is. Not let-me-tell-anyone-who-will-listen scrumptious, like theirs is. Not taste-bud-shockingly fabulous, like theirs is. “Why?”, we wondered. We did what they told us to, so how to explain the difference between their phenomenal chicken and potatoes, and our pretty good chicken and potatoes? For a while we actually started to wonder if perhaps our parents were magic. Magic would explain everything! But then we watched them in action, took detailed notes, measured and counted, studied their every step and finally we were able to reproduce their roasted chicken and Greek potatoes ourselves, in our very own kitchens! Hourray! We were once again amazed that such simple ingredients could produce something so marvellous…and so we thought, maybe magic is hereditary!?
We’re really looking forward to you trying this recipe for yourselves. Let us know if you end up with what may be the best roasted chicken and Greek potatoes you have ever had.
Once again the basic ingredients in this recipe are just that – basic. Therefore, one key to success is to use the highest quality products you can get your hands on. That means an organic, farm-raised chicken, excellent Greek olive oil, fresh lemons and good quality potatoes.
Our parents are wise and don’t wash their chicken before cooking it. You should listen to our parents. If you still need some convincing as to why you should never wash raw poultry read this (and watch the short video…it’s cute, and horrifying).
We’re not quite sure if the roasting pan that our parents (and we) use for this meal impacts the flavour at all, but it might. This recipe was made using a round metal roasting pan, kept uncovered at all times.
Some of the techniques used by our parents would probably not receive a celebrity-chef stamp of approval. For example, they flip their chicken over part way through the cooking process. Having read many, many cookbooks and watched many, many cooking shows, we are pretty sure this is unusual. But that’s the way they do it, so that’s the way we have described it.
If you are the one serving this meal keep in mind that the slightly burnt, stuck-to-the-sides-of-the-pan potatoes are usually the most delicious. Give those to your favourite child, or save them for yourself…we won’t tell.
One of the most common concerns people have when roasting a whole chicken is making sure that it is fully, and safely, cooked. There are a couple of ways to ensure that your chicken is safe to eat. The most reliable way is to use a meat thermometer and to insert it into the thickest part of the meat (being careful not to hit bone). Whole chicken is done when, at the thickest part of breast or thigh it has reached an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit (or 82 degrees Celsius). If you don’t have a meat thermometer (Christmas is coming…time to update your list) pierce the chicken near the thigh. The juices should run clear and not be pink-tinged or bloody. For more information about chicken cooking times, you can consult the poultry safety information posted on the Government of Canada’s website (link here).
Mia Kouppa: Roasted chicken with Greek potatoes
- 1 whole chicken
- ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Greek oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 14 small to medium yellow fleshed potatoes, peeled and cut into quarter chunks
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon greek oregano
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cup olive oil (or an equal mixture of canola and olive oil)
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
For the chicken
For the potatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a mixing bowl combine the potatoes, lemon juice, greek oregano, pepper, salt, and olive oil. Mix well to coat the potatoes evenly.
- Pour the potatoes and all of the oil/lemon juice mixture into a large metal roasting pan, keeping potatoes on the periphery (you will place the chicken in the center of the pan).
- Scatter carrot chunks on top of potatoes.
- Remove any excess fat or loose skin from the chicken and discard.
- Squeeze the juice of half a lemon all over chicken.
- Salt the chicken on all sides, and inside the cavity.
- Sprinkle the greek oregano and pepper on all sides of the chicken.
- Place chicken, breast side up, in the center of the roasting pan (surrounded by the potatoes and carrots).
- Place roasting pan in lower rack of oven.
- Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove roasting pan from oven, carefully stir the potatoes around (if some of them have stuck to the sides of the pan, don’t worry. Those crisp, browned pieces are delicious). If you notice that your pan seems a bit dry, add some more oil (you can use olive or canola oil) to the pan.
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon paprika over chicken and potatoes. Turn chicken over and return to oven, breast side down. Continue baking for an additional 30 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius). The potatoes will be done at this point as well, golden and slightly crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside.