Chicken a la Francois
This recipe comes from my husband who frequently makes this for us. He has a number of little things that elevate this from being basic roast chicken to showcasing the best of each ingredient.
Chicken a la Francois
2-3 chicken leg quarters (the drumstick and thigh attached)
3 medium Russet potatoes
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil approx. 1 tablespoon herbs (I'm using freshly dried thyme & oregano)
salt & freshly ground pepper
Start by peeling & cutting potatoes. Because the potatoes will roast with the chicken the entire time, we’re cutting large chunks so they don’t overcook and dry out. See the video for Francois's recommendation for how to cut the chunks for the perfect size.
The remove some of the fat from chicken. It’s just the obvious bits. Leave the skin on.
Slice the garlic into long, large chunks, maybe 2 pieces per clove. Pull up the chicken skin, cut a little slit in the meat, and nestle the slivers of garlic into the slit in the meat. Pull the skin back down. Hidden garlic treasures!
Add 1 tablespoon of the oil in a hot, oven-safe pan - we love to use our cast iron pan for this - and briefly saute the potatoes over medium heat to get a crispy skin, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
*I tried not sauteing the potatoes in a pan with a separate batch of potatoes and at the end of the roast, their skin was like leather, so this is an integral part of getting the potatoes to come out right.
Once there’s some browning on the edges, turn off the heat and add the chicken. Scoot the potatoes over so the chicken can touch pan.
Pour the other tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken, season with salt and pepper and generously sprinkle dried oregano and thyme.
*I’m using herbs from our garden that we dried ourselves and they are absolutely divine. You can do this with any fresh herb. Just hang it in a drafty area, not directly in the sunlight for 2-3 weeks. When the leaves are dry and crumbly to the touch, pull them off stems and store in a jar. This chicken recipe is good with store-bought dried herbs but it is unbelievable with freshly dried herbs.
Now bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven; remove the chicken and stir the potatoes. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side down. Bake for 25 more minutes, until the juices of the chicken run clear when you cut into it.
Flip the chicken skin side up and for an extra crisp, now broil on low for a few minutes, just until you see a pretty golden crisp. This is the place to sprinkle more herbs, too.
And you’re ready to serve! The chicken skin is crunchy; the hidden garlic is soft; the potatoes are crisped but soft and buttery enough to only need a fork. As it cools, you’ll need some fresh bread to soak up the juice at the bottom of the pan - it’s another yummy secret of this dish.