Before I had a child, I thought staying at home with a kid would mean I would have a ton of time to do all the things I never had time for when I worked full time. I figured my husband would always come home to a clean house that smelled of roasting meat with me in my apron and Ollie in clean clothes. At the very least, dinner would be ready at a reasonable hour, so that we would have some solid time together before the baby had to go to bed. Fast forward a year and a half and the scene is a lot less Pleasantville and a lot more Roseanne. Ah, naivety.
Today I didn't get to shower. We spent the morning at Costco crying over blueberries we couldn't eat at that very second. The new chicken costume helped with that disappointment, thankfully. Nap time was a rush to take a few pictures and then finish my resume so I could get it into the hands of the right people. By the time that was finished and edited, the babe was awake. The kitchen was a mess and dispersed from my makeshift photo studio and both sides of the sink were spilling over with dishes, but we left all of the mess at home and walked to the park anyway. Ollie went down the slide for the first time all by himself, never put sand in his mouth and I didn't even think about dishes one time. It was pretty great. At 4:45 we walked in the door, Ollie got a late afternoon snack and watched an episode of Bubble Guppies (I remember when I said my kid would never watch tv) while I tried to get a start on some of the dishes and a jump on dinner. Jon came home early to dirty dishes, onions and garlic on the stove, laundry that hadn't been folded and he kissed a wife who probably should have put on another layer of deodorant at some point during the day. We ate simple beef tacos with plenty of hot sauce and laughed a lot. There were no phones around and no to-do lists. Just us, around the table and now that I really think about it, that version of parenthood is actually pretty great.
Since I don't need any help in the 'generating dishes' category, one pan recipes are highly sought after in our house (especially by Jon who frequently takes the dish washer job after dinner). We roast a chicken at least once a week, using just one pan which usually takes an hour, but lately I've started removing the backbone to speed up the cooking. Because all of the flesh is in contact with the pan, it cooks much faster than if it were whole. You also can set it and forget it until the timer goes off since it no longer needs to be flipped. All great things when you've got a hungry family to feed.
Potatoes are a common compliment to chicken, but you could really use any root vegetable. Butternut squash or sweet potato (or all three!) would be great here as well. The onions get nice and browned while they roast and the extra time the potatoes take in the oven at the end really make them irresistably crispy.
one pan chicken with crispy potatoes
- 1 3 1/2 to 4 pound chicken, whole
- 4 large red potatoes, cut in half lengthwise, and then halved lengthwise again, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/4 of a medium yellow onion, cut into 1" pieces
- 3 large cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- smoked paprika
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle position.
- Remove any organ pieces from inside the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast side down on a large cutting board. With kitchen scissors, cut along one side of the back bone starting at the neck and ending at the tail. Cut the other side and remove the back bone (see images above for reference). Flip the chicken over and place the heel of your hand in the middle of the breast bone. Put your other hand on top and push down as hard as you can to break the rib bone. The chicken will then lay out flat.
- Transfer the chicken to a large (at lease 12") oven safe (no plastic on the handle) skillet, with the breast side up and the legs laying flat. Spread the potatoes, onion and thyme around the chicken and sprinkle with smoked paprika. Season the whole dish with a couple big pinches of kosher salt and a light sprinkle of freshly ground pepper.
- Cook the chicken until the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees, about 40-45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and allow it to rest while you finish the potatoes.
- Even out the potatoes in the skillet and transfer back to the oven. Cook until the potatoes are well browned, about 10 minutes. Serve alongside sturdy sautéed greens such as kale. Mmm. Yes to kale.