Oven-roasted chicken with potatoes (kotopoulo sto fourno me patates) is a classic Greek recipe that I have grown up on – it graced our Sunday table often during my childhood. This slowly-roasted dish requires little prep and very few ingredients, yet it is so delicious that I am mentally slapping myself for not making it sooner. One whiff of the intoxicating herby-garlicky aroma and I am ten years old once again, sharing this meal and fighting over who gets the leg. Proust’s madeleines have nothing on this roast chicken!
It is definitely a meal meant for sharing – and meant for lazy Sundays. Because even though it doesn’t mean slaving over a stove, it does need a long roasting time. I say stick it in the oven and spend the next couple of hours catching up with friends over a glass or wine… or preparing some dessert. Since the recipe has such few ingredients it makes sense to use the best quality free-range chicken, good olive oil and Greek oregano if you can find it. Dried oregano doesn’t have much of a reputation these days, but Greek oregano really has a bolder flavour and scent so well worth sourcing if you can.
Now the one thing about Greek cooking is – do not be stingy with the olive oil or the lemons. Pretty much all meals come with lemon wedges on the side and this chicken is a lot more lemony in Greece than the recipe below – use as much or as little as you prefer. The olive oil and lemon get absorbed by the potatoes which become crispy on the outside and meltingly soft inside. I could eat just the potatoes on their own and be very happy indeed!
A note on preparing the chicken… Most of my life I rinsed the chicken with water and patted it dry before cooking. The recommendations have changed in the UK however and I have now dispensed with the rinsing.
- About 120ml | 1/2 cup chicken stock or white wine
- 4 floury potatoes such as Maris piper, peeled and chopped into large cubes
- 1 large chicken preferably free-range (about 1.5kg /3.3lbs)
- 1 small red onion peeled and halved
- 4 large garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil or more, as needed
- 2 tsp dried oregano or more, as needed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lemon
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 170C (325F).
- Pat the chicken dry with kitchen towels (see above) and then rub all over with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and place on a large roasting tin or casserole.
- Squeeze half the lemon over the chicken and place it in the chicken cavity together with the onion and one bay leaf. Sprinkle with the dried oregano and pour a third of the stock into the pan. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes.
- Take the pan out of the oven and arrange the potatoes, garlic and other bay around the chicken, drizzling with extra olive oil and seasoning with salt, pepper and more dried oregano. Squeeze the other lemon half over the potatoes, place in the pan, and add a bit more stock to the pan if it is dry. Cover with the foil and roast for another 40 minutes.
- Check the roast, turning the potatoes over. Add more stock if the pan is dry, cover and continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender and the chicken juices run clear. Increase the oven temperature to 220C (425F) and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until the chicken skin crisps up.
- Let the chicken rest, covered with foil, for 10 minutes before carving and serving with the potatoes and a Greek salad on the side.