When first received my subscription to Fine Cooking years ago, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The title seemed to imply that it would be filled with fancy-schmancy dishes that would be difficult and expensive to make. As I started thumbing through my first issue, I remember thinking, “Well, that one doesn’t seem so hard…and that one looks delicious, maybe I’ll try it.” I learned that preparing something delicious does not have to be difficult, and it gave me a wonderful sense of satisfaction. For the first year or so I tried nearly every recipe in every issue I got. After a while I started to slack off, and found myself putting the magazine aside as soon as it arrived, fully intending to check it out later, but sometimes never even opening it. Other friends and family members, knowing how much I enjoyed Fine Cooking, gave me subscriptions to other magazines, and I cast many of those aside as well. Sadly many of those ended up in the trash, but somehow I never had the heart to toss any issues of Fine Cooking. Now I have an entire kitchen cabinet devoted to them (with a few Every Day with Rachael Ray‘s and Cooks Illustrated‘s mixed in), and now I’m starting to go through them and look for recipes to try–and save for future use–before getting rid of them once and for all. It’s a slow process.
Anyhow, when I ran across this one from 2006, it looked easy enough to prepare, so I decided to give it a shot.
CHICKEN THIGHS ROASTED WITH ROSEMARY, RED ONIONS AND RED POTATOES
2 navel oranges
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes
8 baby red potatoes (12 ounces), halved
2 medium red onions, sliced into 1/2-inch circles
2 5-inch sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 3/4 teaspoon minced
8 chicken thighs (about 6 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat and skin
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Finely grate 1 teaspoon orange zest. Stir together the zest, oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and the chile flakes in a small bowl.
On one end of a large rimmed baking sheet, toss 1 tablespoon of the oil mixture with the potatoes, onions, and 1 sprig rosemary; separate the onions into rings, and spread the onions and potatoes into a single layer as much as possible. At the other end of the baking sheet, arrange the chicken skin side up and brush the tops of the chicken thighs with the remaining oil mixture. Tuck the remaining rosemary sprig between a couple of thighs and sprinkle the thighs and vegetables lightly with salt.
Roast for 20 minutes. Baste the chicken with the pan drippings using a brush and stir the potatoes and onions. Continue to roast, basting and stirring every 10 minutes, until the chicken skin looks crisp and golden and the potatoes are lightly browned in spots, about 30 minutes more.
Meanwhile, peel the oranges with a sharp knife, making sure you’ve removed the pith and membrane. Slice crosswise into roughly 1/2-inch circles and then chop into roughly 1/2-inch pieces, discarding any thick center membranes. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the minced rosemary.
When the chicken is done, remove the rosemary sprigs from the pan and discard. Stir the potatoes and onions, transfer with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl, and stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary. Baste the chicken and transfer with tongs to a serving platter, top with the orange mixture, and serve hot.
(Fine Cooking, March 2006. p. 37)
To save a little bit of money, I picked up a whole chicken and cut it up rather than getting only thighs. (That’s one thing I swore as a kid I would NEVER do; watching my mother cut up whole chickens used to gross me out, and it took me a long time before I was willing to do it myself. And–surprise, surprise–it’s easy once you get the hang of it, and not at all gross.)
The before-popping-it-into-the-oven photo. I ended up using two baking sheets. I forgot to pick up rosemary when shopping for the ingredients, so I just used some dried that I had on hand. I also used both red and white potatoes, because, well, that’s what I happened to have.
I don’t know why the boys always complain when I tell them we’re having roast chicken for dinner. They always eat it, and they admitted that they liked this version. As for me, I will definitely be making this one again (hopefully with fresh rosemary the next time around). It was easy, relatively quick (chicken always takes a while to cook, of course), and YUMMY. The chili flakes gave it just a teensy little kick, and the orange garnish contrasted that very well with a little bit of sweetness. And Joe gave it a thumbs-up. That’s the best endorsement of all.