For Valentine’s Day, Handsome and I decided to make ourselves a nice dinner. He likes chicken and I have been wanting to roast a whole chicken, so that seemed like the perfect thing to do. I poked around a bit and asked friends for suggestions on their preferred roast chicken recipes/methods. But in the back of my mind, I knew that most likely we would settle on Flat Roasted Chicken with Tiny Potatoes…from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Because let’s be real. Nine times out of ten, if one of the possibilities is a Smitten Kitchen recipe, that’s what I’m going to make.
I don’t have any other photos of this dinner because I was hungry, and didn’t think about how I might want to blog about this. But you can see the chicken in the background. If you want to do the very photogenic thing of bringing a full roasted bird to the table, this recipe is not for you – Deb has you spatchcock the bird (cut out the spine) so you can, as you might guess from the name, roast it flat. If you care more about presentation than I do (read: at all) you can further cut up the bird and then nestle it back into cooking vessel.
The chicken and potatoes – here a bag of multicolored ones from Whole Foods – are nestled together in your pan, where they cook together happily, and the potatoes get a lovely coating of chicken fat and some brown spots. As written, the chicken is basically unseasoned, but I wanted some lemon accents. We took a lemon, zested it over the pan, cut it into eights, and squeezed the juice from half of them over the pan. The remaining pieces of lemon (and some of the squeezed ones) were tucked around in the pan and in and under the bird. This gave it a nice lemon scent. Oh, and I also threw several cloves of garlic in with the potatoes. That was really good with the broccoli, which was just steamed, and served with a very basic lemon vinaigrette impostor on the side.
This was a smashing success, though the bird needed maybe two to five more minutes in the oven (it was exactly up to temperature when I pulled it out) and some of the larger potatoes did as well. Anyway, I will certainly make this again, and will probably play with the flavor profile – this is nothing if not a canvas for whatever whim strikes you! (If you don’t have the book but are curious to try the technique, you could follow this Martha Stewart recipe.) If you can’t find fingerlings or some other tiny potato, I’m sure you could use a full-size potato variety and just chop it to about 1″ or 1.5″ pieces.
A couple of weeks later, I used the bones to make this Perfect, Uncluttered Chicken Stock. (True confessions: I cluttered it up with a bay leaf and two garlic cloves!) I don’t think this is as transcendent as Deb did, but that’s ok. It cooked away on a day I was working at home, and I was hungry all day, which I blame on the smell of chicken soup wafting around the apartment. Almost all of it went into the freezer and it will be put to good use.