Herb Roasted Chicken or How many ways can you make chicken & potatoes?

April 9 - dinner out with friends at Guu Saka
April 10 - Herb Roasted Chicken, Fried Smashed Baby Potatoes with Pesto & Green Salad
April 11 - dinner out at Queen Margherita Pizza
April 12 - Chicken Tacos with a three bean salad

Carole posted on Sunday some of her frustrations with this whole noreEATS business and I have to take a moment to echo them.  I love cooking, I do.  I love making a meal for the Boy and I to share or to share with friends.  I tend to consider it a fundamental part of who I am, the cook.  But the work it takes to constantly figure out something new to cook every night is absolutely taking it's toll.  I've had some wins and tried some new recipes that have been great.  But I spent and hour at the grocery store on Sunday, with not a clue what I wanted to cook this week.  I have been doing really well the past few weeks with creating a meal plan for at least 4 of the 7 days and sticking to it.  But on Sunday I was feeling zero inspiration and knew I needed groceries so rather than pore through cookbooks and magazines I just went to the store hoping something would jump out at me. It didn't work out too well, I left feeling like I had just wasted $100 and didn't have any meals.  I just grabbed some veggies, some frozen shrimp and a couple chickens that were on sale.

Chicken is the last thing I had wanted to make since we ate a ton of it last week.  Then I realized it was Sunday and the first day in almost a week that the Boy and I were able to sit down and have a proper meal together.  I used to do a roast chicken and potatoes every few weeks, but have shied away from that  during the challenge.  Since I had just picked up a chicken, had some baby potatoes on hand and the Boy would be home early, a Sunday Supper just seemed to be in order.

Herb Roasted Chicken
adapted from Coconut & Lime
serves 3-4

1 3-4 lb whole chicken
10 fresh sage leaves
2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
herbes de provence
sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 325F. First turn the chicken back side up.  Using a good pair of kitchen shears, cut up each side of the backbone to remove it. Rinse the chicken under cold water and dry it with paper towel.  Lay the chicken flat in a cast iron skillet.
2. Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with herbes de provence, sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper.  Place the fresh sage leaves  all over the chicken.
3. Place the skillet into the oven and roast for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes, raise the heat to 375F and roast for another 20-30 minutes, until the internal temperature is 170F.
4. Remove from the oven and place the chicken on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

The skin didn't get as golden on the chicken as I had hoped but it was packed with flavor from the fresh sage and herbes de provence.  It was alos much crispier than the picture shows.  Plus it was so tender and juicy that I was happy to have leftovers to use in last night's chicken tacos.

The real winner of the night was the potatoes though.  I had a serious craving for the Potato cakes I made  for Pancake Day.  Like serious, so I had to figure out a way to turn the baby potatoes I had into something that simulated those flavors.  I found a Giada De Laurentiis recipe that sounded delicious on it's own, but that I could switch up the dressing for to use some pesto to get the flavors I was looking for.

Smashed Fried Potatoes with Pesto
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1 lb of baby potatoes - washed (I used a mix of red and white)
sea salt
2-3 Tbsps garlic oil from Garlic Confit
1/4 cup prepared pesto
fresh cracked black pepper

1.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Lower heat to medium, add potatoes and let cook for 0-25 minutes until tender.
2.  Drain potatoes in a colander and let sit to dry and cool for 5-10 minutes. Once cool enough to touch, gently flatten each potato between your palms.
3.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic oil to the heated skillet (if you don't have garlic oil: heat olive oil, add two smashed garlic cloves and let cook for a few minutes to infuse the oil). Add the potatoes in a single layer, you may need to cook in batches.
4. Let cook for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.  Carefully flip and cook the other side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and cook the rest of the potatoes if necessary.
5.  Add cooked potatoes to a serving platter, sprinkle with sea salt & black pepper and top with pesto.

These potatoes we heaven.  Seriously heaven.  You amy be turned off by the two step cooking process, but I promise it is so worth it.  The creamy potatoes, with the crispy mashed edges are amazing!  The Pioneer Woman does something similar in the oven, but since I was roasting the chicken in my oven this method worked best for me.  I will absolutely be making them again using Giada's lemon dressing, that's enough of a switch, right?