Think of potatoes Lyonnaise and brined chicken as roasted chicken and potatoes that you can easily churn out on a weeknight. Seriously. I started my brine before leaving for church on a Sunday morning, got home at a few minutes after noon, and we were sitting down to an amazing chicken and potatoes dinner by 1:15. No trussing required.
I love roast chicken. So much that I’ve written about it twice-traditional roasted chicken and spatchcocked chicken. Spatchcocked chicken is a pretty quick meal, but it’s quite a feat to turn over an entire chicken using a pair of tongs without splashing bubbling oil all over your hand. This way is much simpler, and the brine infuses the chicken with seasoning so that you don’t have to worry with the whole “if I salt the skin but don’t eat the skin, will I even taste the salt?” problem, which is one that I wrestle with every time that I roast a chicken. I’m definitely not a salt addict, but I do want my food to taste like it’s seasoned. So, here you go. Another advantage of this recipe? No need to carve the whole, hot chicken after roasting it. Yes, it has to be cut up before hand, but if you are queasy about that (you guys know I’m not), just have the butcher/meat department employee do it, or buy an equal weight of bone-in chicken pieces.
As for the potatoes Lyonnaise, since these cook on the stovetop you don’t have to worry about constantly turning and stirring the potatoes in aforementioned bubbling oil (or schmaltz) and constantly taking the chicken out of the oven (though don’t get me wrong…good, schmaltzy potatoes are still my favorite). With deeply caramelized onions and deliciously browned potatoes, this is a dish that you’ll want to make again. If you have leftovers, reheat them on a preheated pan (preferably a baking stone) in a 400 degree oven. They’ll crisp up nicely again.
Have you ever brined your chicken or had potatoes Lyonnaise? Do you have any weeknight chicken shortcuts to share?
Yield: 4 servings
2 hr, 10 Prep Time:
45 minCook Time:
2 hr, 55 Total Time:
- 1/2 cup salt (I used Diamond kosher salt)
- 1 Gallon cool water
- 3-4lb whole chicken, cut up (or 2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Large onion (sliced lengthwise (end to end) about 1/4 inch thick)
- 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2lb red or Yukon gold potatoes (peeled and sliced crosswise about 1/4 inch thick)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- chopped parsley
- For the chicken: To make the brine: in a large bowl, whisk together the salt and the water until the salt is dissolved. Place the chicken chicken pieces in the brine in a large covered container (I used a 2-gallon storage bag set inside a large bowl to prevent leakage). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 10 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If you are using a pan smaller than 12 inches, preheat a baking sheet or stoneware pan in the oven (I used a stoneware baking dish). Remove the chicken pieces from the brine and dry on paper towels, patting if needed. It is very important that you dry the chicken so it will brown properly.
- Preheat the two tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch heatproof skillet (or, if you don't have a 12-inch skillet, brown the chicken in two batches, using just one tablespoon of oil at a time). Season the chicken with black pepper. Brown the chicken for two minutes on each side.
- Remove any white meat pieces from the pan and set aside. Place the 12-inch skillet in the oven OR remove the dark meat pieces to the preheated pan in the oven. Bake for ten minutes then add the white meat pieces and bake for fifteen minutes more. Remove the chicken from the oven and rest for ten minutes to redistribute the juices.
- For the potatoes: Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and about half the salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to soften, then reduce the heat to medium and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, using the water to deglaze the pan if it gets too dry. Scrape the cooked onions into a bowl.
- While the onions are cooking, microwave another tablespoon of the butter in a large bowl for about 15-30 seconds, until melted. Toss the potatoes in the butter then return to the microwave and cook for about three minutes. Toss and return to the microwave for another three minutes.
- After the onions have finished cooking and the potatoes have been microwaved, melt the remaining butter in the unwashed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and shake to distribute evenly. Cook without stirring for about three minutes, until all pieces have browned on the bottom, then carefully turn each potato with a spatula. Cook, carefully stirring from time to time, until potatoes are thoroughly browned and tended, about 8-10 minutes. Season with the remaining salt and black pepper to taste.
- Add the onions back to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook for one to two minutes more. Serve garnished with parsley.
Most of the prep time is inactive prep to allow the chicken to brine.