I think that we’re all looking for meals with simple prep work and as few steps as possible, especially for weeknights.
Over the years, I’ve cooked chicken and veggies on sheet pans more than any other way. I find the sheet pan is large enough to hold enough food for a family and it makes for easy cleanup.
This recipe uses very simple spices and ingredients that most of us have on hand at all times. The natural juice from the chicken bakes into the potatoes, making their flavor amazing.
This dish is nice enough to serve to company, and you can add your own interpretation — you could add 7 Spice or herbs to take this dependable recipe up a notch. It’s wonderful to experiment. Add the flavors and amounts of salt and spices that you love the most.
3-4 pounds dark meat chicken on the bone, skin on
⅓ cup olive or neutral oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons sweet or smoked paprika
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large sweet onion, diced
2.5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
Preheat your oven to 375 F, and place the oven rack in the middle.
Mix the oil, salt, paprika and garlic in a small bowl.
Wash and scrub the potatoes before slicing them. You can cube them and leave the skin on if you like. This week, I made simple slices and left the skin on. To do this, I cut the potato in half lengthwise, then cut each half lengthwise 4 or 5 times. You don’t want these slices to be super thin. When they’re all sliced, set them aside in a bowl.
Pour about ¾ of the oil mixture into the bowl of potatoes, and mix well.
Chop and dice the onion, and spread it over the bottom of the sheet pan.
Lay the potatoes over the onion and arrange your chicken pieces on top.
Brush the top only with the oil. I like to use a pastry brush to apply the oil to the chicken, but if you don’t have one, you can use your hands to rub it in. You may want to wear gloves because the paprika can stain your skin. If there is any oil remaining in the bowl after the chicken has been brushed, you can drizzle it over the potatoes.
Bake at 375 F for 35 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. At this point, I take the tray out, move the chicken aside and give the potatoes a good stir to be sure they are evenly coated with oil. Place the chicken back on top of the potatoes and continue cooking for another half hour. (If you use chicken quarters, you may have to adjust your time and cook the chicken 15 minutes longer than if you’re cooking only legs and thighs.) Chicken should hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, and not all of our ovens are created equal. You will learn if your oven needs more or less time from plain old trial and error. I prefer my chicken in the 180 range — just my nervousness about proper cooking — so I will bake mine a bit longer. The potatoes need more time than the chicken, which will get dry if you leave it in the oven too long.
When the chicken is ready to come out of the oven, remove it to a platter and continue cooking the potatoes for at least another 20 minutes. They should be fork-tender when ready.
This recipe serves 4-5 people, and the chicken tastes very good cold or at room temperature — perfect for a yummy dish for Shabbat lunch or for picnics.
Good luck, bless your hands and enjoy! PJC
Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.