A few weeks ago, my stepdaughter brought her Jewish Studies class to our home for a Shabbat dinner celebration. The gathering was organized by her teacher, Cheryl Cohen. My stepdaughter always talks about Cheryl with a smile on her face; she loves her Jewish Studies class and everything she learns there. It was Cheryl’s idea to organize a Shabbat meal with the students, where they do all the cooking and preparations themselves (with a little help from us, of course). After our dinner together it is clear that Cheryl is making a positive, lasting impact on the lives of her students. They were so excited to experience Shabbat together as a class, and I was excited to have them all in my kitchen!
The kids decided to make Cheryl’s recipe for Rosemary Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with olive oil and garlic as the main entree. In addition to that, I taught them how to sear salmon and how to make chocolate toffee matzo crunch. They made mashed sweet potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, salad, fresh fruit, and of course freshly baked challah that the kids braided themselves. When everything was ready, Cheryl led the Shabbat blessings as the sun set.
As part of the blessings, each student talked about what they’re grateful for and what they hope for in the coming week. The candles were lit, then it was time to eat! We set up a long table in our entryway so there was plenty of room for everybody to enjoy the delicious meal they created.
This Rosemary Roasted Chicken and Potatoes recipe is inspired by our Shabbat dinner. Skin-on chicken pieces are brush with olive oil and seasoned, then roasted in a hot oven on a bed of potatoes, garlic, rosemary and lemon. The whole garlic cloves and fresh rosemary infuse the chicken with tons of flavor. The potatoes roast up tender with crispy brown exteriors, infused with flavor from the juices of the chicken. This is a one-pan meal, meaning there is no need to dirty a bunch of dishes– toss the potatoes in a bowl, but otherwise all you need is a roasting pan. It’s a delicious way to cook chicken… easy enough for a weeknight meal, yet special enough for Shabbat or any occasion. Enjoy!
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Rosemary Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
- 4-5 lbs chicken pieces, bone in, skin on I prefer leg/thigh pieces
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary minced
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 1/2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 12 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary minced
- 2 lemons sliced into 8 thick wheels
- 8-10 large fresh rosemary sprigs
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and place your empty roasting pan inside to heat along with the oven.
- With the chicken skin side up, brush pieces with olive oil, then generously coat with 2/3 of the salt, pepper & rosemary. Flip over and brush with oil again, then sprinkle with remaining salt, pepper and rosemary.
- Cut the potatoes into 1 inch chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss them with the olive oil, garlic cloves, salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp minced rosemary.
- While wearing oven mitts, very carefully remove your hot roasting pan from the oven. Spray the hot pan with nonstick cooking oil spray. Quickly and carefully pour the potatoes and garlic evenly across the bottom of the pan.
- Place the large fresh rosemary sprigs and lemon slices on top of the potatoes. The idea is to create a bed to lay the chicken pieces on.
- Lay the chicken pieces on top of the potatoes, rosemary and lemon. Return the pan to the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and give the potatoes a good stir to be sure they are well coated with the oil and fat from the chicken. You may need to remove the chicken for a moment to do this, just be sure to replace it when you are finished stirring the potatoes. Once the potatoes have been stirred, increase the oven heat to 450 degrees and return the pan to the oven. Roast for an additional 45 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F, the skin is crisp and potatoes are browned and tender inside. The potatoes and chicken should be done around the same time; if the potatoes do not feel "done enough" you can remove the chicken once it's fully cooked and continue to roast the potatoes till they are cooked through.
- NOTE: If you find that the potatoes are sticking to the bottom of your roasting pan a bit, gently slide a metal spatula beneath them and they should move fairly easily. If you use a smaller roasting pan than 12x17, you may find that you have too much oil/fat in the pan towards the end of cooking, which will prevent the potatoes from getting crisp. If this happens, remove the chicken when it is fully cooked, drain off most of the excess fat and oil, then crisp up the potatoes under the broiler at the end of cooking.
- For a pretty presentation, serve the chicken and potatoes on a serving platter and garnish with fresh rosemary and lemon wheels.