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Roasted Mashed Potatoes, and another Roasted Chicken

March 6, 2007

Roasted Mashed Potatoes

I had been thinking all weekend about why mashed potatoes are always made with boiled potatoes. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone cooking the potatoes in another way, so of course, I had to give it a go. How would they turn out if the potatoes were roasted, instead of boiled? What about roasted with a chicken, so the mashed potatoes would have all the chicken juices mixed in? Well, now I can definitively tell you, they are awesome.

I, once again, tried to find a new way to roast the chicken: I decided this time to rub it with a gremolata, a mix of parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. I suppose the only thing that makes this different from past chickens is the addition of parsley, but it turned out well. I have been having some problems lately getting the chicken cooked all the way through. I suspect I need to buy an actual roasting pan. The pan I’ve been using is much too small, and with potatoes thrown in the bottom, the chicken is mostly raised above the sides of the pan. I’ve heard that the higher sides of a roating pan help poultry cook all the way through by refracting heat or something like that, so my too-small pan might be the problem.

Roasted Mashed Potatoes and Chicken Gremolata

  • 2 large Idaho potatoes
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 whole roasting chicken, about 4 pounds (I think)
  • 1 handful of finely chopped parsley
  • zest from 1 lemon, and the lemon, halved
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 c. melted butter
  • 1/4 c. milk (I used low-fat)

Chop the potatoes into 1-inch pieces, and toss them in the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Try to spread them into a single layer on the bottom of the pan.

Rinse the chicken, inside and out, and pat it dry with paper towels. Rest it on top of the layer of potatoes in the roasting pan.   

Mix the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic together, and run it under the breast skin of the chicken, and a bit on top, and a bit on the legs, and all around. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of the chicken, then brush the melted butter all over the top and sides and everywhere. Shove the lemon halves into the chicken, and either tie it up with kitchen twine, or don’t. I think that part is kind of arbitrary.

Roast the chicken and potatoes in a 400F oven, for about an hour to an hour and a half. The length of time depends on your oven, of course. I assumed mine was done, because a prick on the legs released clear juices, but I’m beginning to realize that is not a good indicator. Once I started carving it, I realized it was decidedly not done, and it had to go back in the oven. The smallness of my roasting pan also contributed to the not all the way cooked potatoes, so the whole deal had to go back in the oven for another 15 or 20 minutes. I need a meat thermometer.

Once the chicken is well and truly cooked through, remove it from the pan and let it rest on a cutting board. Heat the milk in a small saucepan on the stove, and start to mash up the potatoes. The oil they cooked in and the chicken juices should ensure you don’t need to add any extra butter or fats. Once the milk is warmed, but not boiling, add a bit at a time to the potatoes, mashing them up until they reach a consistency you like.

I, alas, didn’t take a picture of the chicken, but it did look lovely. Until I started hacking away at it. Someday I’ll learn to properly carve a chicken. The meat was very tender and juicy, and it was faintly lemony, just the way I like it. And the potatoes were fantastic. Of course, I also topped them with a little bit of truffle oil, but even on their own, they were just the right amount of buttery, and the roasted flavor came through in a unique way. If it didn’t take about an hour longer than boiling them, I might only make mashed potatoes this way in the future. Am I the only person to have ever thought of this? I am starting to wonder if baking them whole would result in a different flavor, or if broiling them in tin foil packets and then mashing them would be good. There are whole new mashed potatoes worlds opening for me, which, well, is a little dangerous, I think.

Now I have my chicken carcass boiling way on the stove, with onion and garlic peelings, and a few parsley stems. I’m starting to wonder if the only reason I even roast chickens is to make stock. I have no idea what I’m going to do with all the leftover chicken meat, because there is certainly too much of it for one girl to eat by herself. Any suggestions?

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