Roast Chicken and Potatoes

Q: What do a group of 25 year-old single girls do in London on a Saturday night?
A: Make roast chicken and stream a mediocre chick-flick from Netflix.

You can feel the winter in London now and I’m finding it more and more difficult to convince myself to leave the apartment. All I want to do on these cold nights is to share a hearty dinner and a bottle of wine with friends.

I find roast chicken to be one of the most comforting meals. The chicken fulfilling, the potatoes are velvety and comforting, the roast is quick to prepare, and I can watch an episode of the Newsroom while my royal chicken cooks to perfection in the oven. It’s a win-win situation really.

If I’m cooking for 4-6 friends, I prefer to roast a whole chicken. Just add a few more potatoes, another onion,  and use enough cumin and oregano to rub the skin with. This weekend I was cooking for fewer friends so I went with drumsticks only. If you prefer boneless meat, you can use de-boned chicken thighs instead. Using chicken breasts would have a slightly different result as the texture of the white meat will not be as tender as the dark meat.

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Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Serves 2

4 chicken drumsticks
1 large potato
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 scallions
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
Salt & black pepper to taste
½ Lemon (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350F/180C.

Wash the chicken under cold running tap. I like to rub the chicken with a wedge of lemon in the process, since the acid helps eliminate the raw meat smell of the chicken.

Peel a large potato and cut it lengthwise to four pieces. Place the drums and the potatoes in a baking dish. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper, use about 1/3 of the cumin to season the chicken. Wait 5 minutes for the seasoning to be absorbed.

Flip the chicken and the potatoes over and place the bay leaves in between the chicken. If you’re cooking whole chicken, put the bay leaves in the body cavity instead. Add the coarsely sliced onions and chopped scallions and drizzle the dish with olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper. Finally, add the rest of the cumin and dried oregano. Using your finger tips, ensure that each piece of chicken is coated with spices. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the baking dish. In order to avoid washing the spices off the chicken, I gradually pour the water in from the sides.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and make a few small holes in the aluminum using the tip of your knife. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the baking dish and bake for another 15 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crunchy.

Discard the bay leaves before serving.
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