Chicken, lemon and potatoes with wild oregano
There’s a small Greek island that I go to in the summer where you can find a family run restaurant on a beach, only accessible by foot or boat. After scrambling down from a high coastal path you will discover some tables sitting under the trees on the sand by a small stone building from which appears dishes of simply prepared local food. A plate of crisp skinned chicken, for the table to share comes bathed in oil, juicy with lemons and fragrant with mountain oregano, flavours which I will always associate with hot summers on sun drenched islands.
This recipe originally appeared in House & Garden magazine, photos courtesy of Andrew Montgomery.
- 6 leg and thigh pieces of free-range chicken
- Fine sea salt
- Small bunch of dried wild oregano (available from Waitrose and specialist shops)
- 1 large unwaxed lemon
- 1kg potatoes (use a versatile variety – not too waxy or floury – such as Desiree)
- 4tbsp olive oil
- Flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Season the chicken pieces well with sea salt and the oregano leaves. Cut the lemon into 8 chunks, leaving the skin on and add to the chicken. If you have time, you can do this the day or night before and leave it in the fridge to marinade, which will add to the flavour.
- Put the potatoes, whole and unpeeled in a pan of well salted water and bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes, or until just tender on the outside, they will still be uncooked in the middle. Drain and run under cold water until cool enough to handle, then peel off the skins with your fingers. Cut them into large pieces – into halves or quarters.
- Heat the oven to 180°C/X/X Pour some olive oil into the bottom of a large roasting tray and lay the chicken, lemon pieces and potatoes in one layer. If your tray isn’t big enough, use two. Turn the potatoes so they are lying flat side down, to encourage maximum contact with the cooking surface. Pour the remaining olive oil over the top of the contents of the tray.
- Cook for 1 ½ hours, until the skin looks golden and crisp. Use a metal spatula to lift the potatoes and chicken onto a warmed serving dish then deglaze the roasting tray with a splash of water and pour this over the meat.
- Serve hot or warm with beans and a simple green salad