Cooking the Book: Roasted Chicken Breasts with Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
While I can’t recall the exact words, Mr Kitchenette said something to the effect of “Damn, woman, why didn’t you make this one sooner?!?” after the first few bites of this little gem.
This recipe became one of our immediate favorites in this cookbook and I think will long be in the regular recipe rotation in some form or another. While this version calls for potatoes and Brussels sprouts and plain butter, I foresee a zillion variations with different roast-able veggies and even some compound butter on the chicken. It’s got all the awesomeness of roasting a whole chicken without the pain in the butt of, you know, roasting a whole chicken for just two people (time, leftovers, dismemberment, etc.).
The best things about this recipe — it’s fast, easy, involved very little clean up — are totally overshadowed by how perfectly cooked and amazingly delicious the chicken turns out. It’s just that good. The butter under the skin keeps the chicken moist and a little olive oil on the outside crisps it to perfection. Plus all the delicious drippings end up on your veggies. Brilliant.
It’s also easily adapted with whatever vegetables are you are into (the book’s primary recipe is actually for potatoes, parsnips and carrots and I think just carrots and potatoes or parsnips and sprouts or any other combination of root vegetables and/or Brussels sprouts would work well… I’m also thinking turnips should get in on this action, y’all….).
Nothing to see here!
The recipe explicitly calls for red potatoes, but I was too taken with the adorable mini variety bag of exotic potatoes to pay too much attention (and it worked just fine). I just can’t say to no tiny purple potatoes from Peru (or alliteration, apparently). I think its safe to say you can go crazy with almost anything you want under there.
Also, and this isn’t really a bad thing, more of an us thing, we tend to like our roasted veggies a little more roasty than the allowed cooking time yielded. The chicken was perfect and the veggies were all cooked through and it’s definitely just a matter of personal preference. On making this one a second time, I took the chicken out to rest but left the veggies in for that extra 5 to 10 minutes, cranking the oven up to 500 for a little extra crunch on their exterior. Perfection.
Roasted Chicken Breasts with Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
from Cooking for Two, 2011
If using kosher chicken, do not brine. If brining the chicken, do not season with salt in step 2. We prefer to use extra-small red potatoes measuring less than 1 inch in diameter in this recipe, but you can substitute larder red potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch chunks. If your parsnips and carrots are very thick, slice them in half lengthwise first to ensure even cooking.
When buying Brussels sprouts, choose those with small, tight heads, no more than 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Be careful not to cut too much off the stem end when trimming the sprouts or the leaves will fall away from the core.
8 ounces extra-small red potatoes, halved (see note)
6 ounces small Brussels sprouts, stem ends trimmed, discolored leaves removed and halved through stems
1 shallot, peeled and quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
salt and pepper
2 (12-ounce) bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts, trimmed, brined if desired
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces and softened
lemon wedges, for serving
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss potatoes, carrots, parsnips, shallot, garlic, 1 Tablespoon oil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Spread vegetables in 13 by 9 baking dish.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and gently loosen center portion of skin covering each breast. Using spoon, place 1 piece butter underneath skin of each breast, then gently press skin to spread out butter. Brush with reaming 1 Tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper.
Following photos, lay chicken, skin side up, on wire rack and carefully place lover dish of vegetables (rack may overhang dish slightly). Roast until chicken registers 160 to 165 degrees on instant read thermometer and vegetables are golden brown and tender, 25 to 35 minutes.
Transfer chicken to serving platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to platter. Serve with lemon wedges.