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A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry
Chicken is always a go-to for dinner at home (though I rarely order it out) so I got pretty excited about a cookbook that is all chicken recipes, and good looking ones at that. The cover photo for A Bird in the Hand has that rustic, comfort food feel and I went looking for the recipe it came from--chicken with thyme and lemon and smashed garlic potatoes.
This recipe is remarkably easy, doesn't require much in the way of ingredients, and the "serves 4" really served 4 for me. Try to get your potatoes as close to the same size as possible and FYI, do not try to use a muddler to smash the potatoes. Works well for mint in a mojito, not so much for little potatoes in a baking dish.
I made this recipe before the thyme was in bloom but think I'll make it again this weekend now that there are purple flowers on the sprigs in my pot (see recipe note below). Author Diana Henry calls this recipe "a keeper" and I couldn't agree more. The photo below is not mine (obviously...)--I made it on a weeknight and we devoured it basically straight from the oven.
chicken with thyme and lemon and smashed garlic potatoes
Very simple but very pretty, especially if you can get your hands on thyme flowers. The chicken also works well with lavender.
The potatoes are fab. I do them in all sorts of versions. You can daub the top of them with crÃ¨me fraÃ®che (wicked, but good) or add dried chili flakes or herbs (though not to serve with this chicken dish, but with others). It's a "keeper" recipe.
for the potatoes
1lb 2oz baby new potatoes
8 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole, plus 3 garlic cloves, grated
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
for the chicken
1 small chicken, cut into 8 pieces, or a mixture of skin-on, bone-in thighs and drumsticks
Â¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
8 sprigs of thyme (and thyme flowers if possible), divided
finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, plus the juice of 2
Preheat the oven to 375Â°F.
Boil the potatoes in water with the peeled, whole garlic cloves. When the potatoes are just tender, drain them (discard the garlic), put the potatoes into a baking dish, and press the top of each so it is a little crushed, but stays in a single piece. (I use the end of a rolling pin, but a potato masher is good, too.)
Add the grated garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper and roll the potatoes around in all of this to coat. Scatter with the thyme leaves.
Put the chicken pieces into a baking pan that you can serve from; a cast-iron, enamel, or copper dish would be good. The pieces should lie snugly in a single layer. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper, and 6 sprigs of thyme. Leave some sprigs whole, and just use the leaves of others. No need to be exacting about it.
Add the zest and juice of one lemon. Add the squeezed-out rinds as well. Toss everything together with your hands. Remove some of the zest of the other lemon with a vegetable peeler and set it aside. Place the chicken pieces skin-side up and add to the hot oven.
After 10 minutes' cooking, put the potatoes into the oven. They should be roasted for 30 minutes and you need to shake the dish every so often and roll the potatoes over. After the chicken has been in the oven for 30 minutes, add the strips of lemon zest and toss them around in the fat. Cook for a final 10 minutes.
Serve the chicken in the dish in which it has been cooked with the leaves from the extra sprigs of thyme and the thyme flowers scattered on top, with the potatoes.