If you are searching for an easy and rewarding family dinner, then look no further than a chicken. A whole roasted chicken is a weeknight wonder, yielding a bounty of comforting food with little effort. It will fill your home with tantalizing aromas while it roasts, amply feed a family of four with leftovers for lunch, and bestow you with the goods for a rich and restorative stock. For complete dinner ease, throw a bunch of sturdy vegetables, such as potatoes or root vegetables, into the pan around the chicken, and let them braise in the pan juices while the chicken cooks.
I roast a chicken like this nearly every week. For variety, I will change it up with a rub or a marinade, depending on the mood or season. Prefer something cozy and traditional for a gray and rainy day? Then keep it simple with olive oil, rosemary, thyme and pan gravy. Feeling spicy? Give it a dry rub with an elixir of Southwestern spices spiked with cayenne.
Craving travel and far-flung inspiration? Then try this heady recipe, and slather the chicken with a thick yogurt marinade infused with lemon, garlic, cardamom and ginger. The yogurt is a wonderful tenderizer, is commonly used in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes as a marinade, and imparts a delicious tang. It’s also a great vehicle for a shower of spices and aromatics that will satisfy any culinary wanderlust influencing your craving.
Yogurt marinated chicken and potatoes with lemon, garlic and ginger
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus resting time
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the chicken:
1 whole free-range or organic chicken, 4 to 5 lbs.
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Greek whole milk yogurt
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
For the potatoes:
1 1/2 to 2 pounds baby potatoes, halved if large
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Fresh cilantro for garnish
Thirty minutes before roasting, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the chicken all over and inside the cavity with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, ginger, salt, lemon zest, cardamom and black pepper in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Rub the paste all over the outside of the chicken, between the skin and breast, and inside the cavity. Place, breast-side up, in the center of a baking pan or large ovenproof skillet.
Prepare the potatoes: Toss the potatoes, olive oil, paprika, salt and black pepper in a bowl. Scatter the potatoes around the chicken.
Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using tongs, carefully turn the chicken over, breast-side down. Stir the potatoes. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove and once again turn the chicken over, breast-side up. Return to the oven and cook until chicken is thoroughly cooked and thigh juices run clear when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. (If the chicken becomes too dark before thoroughly cooked, lightly cover with foil.)
Remove from the oven and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
Carve the chicken and serve with the potatoes and the pan juices. Garnish with fresh cilantro.