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Roast Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes, Leeks, and Bacon

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 116

Sautéing the leeks and garlic before layering them with the potatoes renders them meltingly tender and slightly caramelized. The roast chicken on top comes out incredibly juicy, with delicate herbal notes

  • 1 3-1/2- to 4-lb. whole chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley, plus 10 small sprigs
  • 4 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme, plus 4 sprigs
  • 4 large leeks, white and light-green parts halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise into 3/8-inch pieces (about 4 cups) and rinsed; dark-green parts from 1 leek rinsed and reserved
  • 3 strips thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise 3/8-inch thick
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 lb. large fingerling potatoes, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
  • 1-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened

Discard the giblets from the chicken, trim off any excess fat from the cavity and neck, and pat dry with paper towels. Generously season the chicken inside and out with 1 Tbs. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Stuff the cavity with the parsley sprigs, 3 of the bay leaves (if fresh, crush lightly), 2 sprigs of thyme, and the dark leek greens. Tuck the wings behind the neck of the chicken, using the wing tips to secure any loose neck skin, if necessary. Tie the legs together with string. Let rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.

In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, cook the bacon in the oil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Leaving the bacon in the pan, spoon out and reserve all but 1 Tbs. fat.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the leeks, garlic, and the remaining bay leaf and thyme sprigs, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

In the same pan, arrange half of the potatoes in an even layer, season very lightly with salt and pepper, then scatter the leek mixture over top. Layer the remaining potatoes over the leeks, and season very lightly with salt and pepper. Pour the broth over the vegetables.

Pour 1 Tbs. of the reserved bacon fat into the cavity of the chicken. Rub the softened butter over the bird’s skin, and sprinkle with the chopped thyme. Set the chicken, breast side up, on the vegetables.

Roast the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F to 170°F, about 1 hour.

Transfer the chicken to a platter, remove the string, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and keep the vegetables warm in the turned-off oven.

Sprinkle the potatoes with the chopped parsley, arrange them around the chicken, and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 760; Fat (g): fat g 38; Fat Calories (kcal): 340; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 12; Protein (g): protein g 61; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 43; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1220; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 190; Fiber (g): fiber g 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Did it exactly as described with one exception:used 100 g double-smoked bacon; the results exceeded my already-high expectations.

Made this for the first time, and we loved it. I used the prescribed tablespoon of salt on the cavity and skin of the chicken, but bumped up the amount of pepper from 1/2 tsp to 2 tsp. Also, I mixed the veggies thoroughly rather than layering them. Potatoes were tender without being mushy, and not greasy at all.

This is our favorite roast chicken recipe. Hands down. Sometimes I even double the recipe and put two chickens in a large roasting pan when feeding a crowd. Works perfectly.

Excellent stylish comfort food preparation for chicken. The leek/bacon/potato combination really is delicious. I paid attention to previous reviewers, some of whom mentioned it was rather greasy or salty. I therefore did not cook the bacon in oil and did not coat the chicken with butter( I glossed over it with a stick of butter as it was heating and sprinkled the chopped time on that)and skipped the addition of salt to the vegetable layers on the pan. It all came out perfectly. I agree with the reviewer who said it is surprisingly easy. It had a lovely, mouth-watering roasted look when it came out of the oven, and my husband really liked it. I will definitely use this recipe often.

This was very tasty-however very greasy! I didn't even use the 2 T of butter-just omitted it. But all of the fat from the chicken settled on the potatoes. ALthough they were flavorful-I had to drain a lot of grease off of them. Maybe if I had used less stock the potatoes would have absorbed more of the grease? Don't know if I'll do this one again-it was a little overboard on the grease.

Made this for Mother's Day and the results, especially the tenderness of the chicken, got rave reviews from my wife and daughter. I didn't have any problem with the amount of salt and my only issue was that the various amounts of fat may have left the vegetables somewhat greasy. I like the idea of putting the butter/herb mixture under the chicken skin instead of on top. This is a keeper and will be trying the other French Roast recipes.

I'd give it five stars except it came out a little salty. I believe the amount of salt for seasoning the bird "inside and out" should be one TEAspoon not TABLEspoon. I'd also suggest combining the butter with the chopped thyme before rubbing it on the bird and finishing the trussing AFTER you attempt putting the 1 Tbs. bacon fat into the bird's cavity. I believe the call for a TABLESPOON of salt for seasoning the chicken is incorrect. If 1 teaspoon salt=2,300 mg sodium, and 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon, then 1 tablespoon salt=6900 mg sodium. If the recipe makes four servings, 1/4 6900 mg = 1725 mg before the salt from the bacon or the leeks being "lightly seasoned with salt and pepper" or the "lower salt" chicken broth. The figure given in the recipe nutrition information is 1220 mg sodium per serving.

This is some serious comfort food! I always do the following for roast chicken so I did it this time: herbs and butter under the skin and lemon wedges in the cavity and the pan. I forgot to add the chicken broth per recipe timeline, but this gave the potatoes and leeks a couple of minutes to set -- they came out perfectly in the end. The parsley garnish brings it over the top. Fantastic! Clean up is surprisingly easy. A big 2 for 2 this weekend with Fine Cooking recipes.

We loved this chicken dish!! Very good. I did have to substitute Yukon golds for the fingerlings, but it worked out great! Might try onions or shallots instead of leeks next time. YUM!!

Simply put - the best roast chicken we've ever had. Make the recipe as written; easy, fast, and delicious. For dessert, I made the lemon meringue pie in the same issue. Awesome! We were "umm-ing" through the meal from start to finish.

Made this last Sunday- Delicious! Moist! Easy with all in one skillet! Very Pretty and Fragrant. Chardonnay was great with it. As to Bacon, Leeks, Potatoes- Love this combo! I had raw left over- made it Tuesday morning same way but added it to an egg white omelette!! Really Yummy! Now that I know how to do this I can do a riff on the whole recipe with different veg and herbs/spices for various roast meats and make my own recipes as well.

I found the leeks came out to be a fatty mush. The chicken didn't absorb any of the flavors from the herbs, and while the potatoes were nice, I'd definitely double up on them next time, while cutting back the amount of leeks.

This recipe was easy to prepare, and the results were superb. The flavors melded beautifully. It's simple enough for a family meal and delicious enough for company.

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