Angelina’s pollo al forno con patate (Chicken with Potatoes)

The weather this Labor Day weekend hasn’t been too congenial for a cookout. It seems Mother Nature has been in a changeable mood, sunny for a while, then cloudy, then stormy, and hot and muggy the whole while. So I took the chicken I was meaning to grill indoors and gave it an old-fashioned treatment that brought me back to Angelina’s Sunday dinners: cut up in pieces, mixed with potatoes, drizzled with a generous measure of oil and seasonings and roasted in the oven. Nothing could be simpler or more satisfying. 

Angelina had her own take on this classic dish, which is usually made with garlic and rosemary. Angelina used more onion than garlic, which gives the dish a pleasant, mellow sweetness, and substituted parsley for the rosemary. And she added a bit of parmesan cheese (not too much) for extra savoriness. Sometimes she added a bit of chopped tomato, too. The result is not very pretty to look at perhaps, and it certainly isn’t elegant. But it is honest, unpretentious cooking, and it sure is delicious eating! 


Ingredients (to serve 4-6 people)


1 young chicken, cut into serving pieces
4-6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 médium onion, finely sliced
50g (1/2 cup) grated parmesan cheese
A handful of parsley, finely chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


Optional:
A few ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped


Directions


Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Be very generous with the salt, pepper and especially the olive oil.


Arrange the chicken and potatoes in a baking dish large enough to accommodate the ingredients. (The chicken needs to be in a single layer, with potatoes strewn around them.) Drizzle any remaining oil from the mixing bowl, together with a bit of white wine or water over all.


Roast in a moderately hot oven (375°F/190°C) for an hour, or until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through and golden brown. Turn the ingredients once or twice during the roasting process for even cooking, and baste it from time to time with the oil and cooking juices. But let it alone for the last 10  minutes to allow a nice crust to form. If, on the other hand, the chicken seems to be browning too quickly, lower the temperature a bit (to 180°C/350°F).


Let the dish rest for at least 15 minutes or so before serving, so the juices can be absorbed back into the chicken and potatoes.


NOTES: The real secret of this dish is not to go light on the seasonings, in particular the oil and salt. Yes, I know, I know… but if you want that old fashioned taste, you just can’t skimp on either. When you take the dish out of the oven, it will seem to be swimming in oil—that’s the way it should be. After the dish rests—and resting is the other key step here—the oil will be drawn back into the chicken and potatoes and infuse it with unctuous deliciousness. Other than that, as you can see, the dish practically cooks itself.


You want a young chicken, a ‘fryer’ rather than a roaster, cut into ten pieces: two drumsticks, two thighs, two wings, and each breast (bone in) cut into two. Each piece should be small enough that the seasonings can really penetrate the meat. For the same reason, you should give the chicken a long cooking time as indicated in the recipe. Don’t worry, the generous amount of oil will keep the chicken from drying out, so long as you turn and baste the pieces as directed.


Some recipes will call for splashing a little white wine. Angelina didn’t do that but there’s nothing to stop you if you want to. I do find that modern chickens tend to give off quite a bit of liquid on their own, however, so judge for yourself.


Long-time readers may recognize this dish as a close relative to another meat and potato dish: agnello e patate al forno, which we featured some time back.

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21 Responses to “Angelina’s pollo al forno con patate (Chicken with Potatoes)”

  1. Anonymous
    18 March 2012 at 06:10 #

    Very good and very easy…Simple! It's a winner! I've already incorporated this dish in my everyday cookery…As for the wine, I never use wine when cooking roasted potatoes…It seems to create a strange chemical reaction: potatoes get a underdone consistency, as if they were raw no matter how much time they stay in the oven…When I roast fish or meat and want to add some wine for seasoning I always roast the potatoes separately…But this chicken needs no wine.
    Beatriz Tavares

  2. 11 September 2011 at 21:27 #

    A very nice recipe! My mother didn't like to turn on the oven, so when she made chicken it was always in a pan. It was good (white wine, rosemary, etc.), but I craved roasted chicken and potatoes. As a result, I have a soft spot for roasted chicken :)

  3. Anonymous
    10 September 2011 at 21:12 #

    Tried the recipe last night…..the dish turned out excellent…..Thanks and looking forward to many more.

  4. 7 September 2011 at 23:44 #

    What a great dish! I love simple chicken and potatoes. And I love the ones swimming in oil even more!

  5. 7 September 2011 at 07:41 #

    I love the simplicity of your cooking!! It reminds me of Sunday dinners at grandmas :) Delishious.

  6. 7 September 2011 at 06:19 #

    Thanks again, folks! I couldn't agree more that taste beats out looks every time!

  7. 7 September 2011 at 02:55 #

    This recipe is great, I'm having a lady over for dinner and I will do my best to impress her with this Italian dish! Keep your fingers crossed!

  8. 6 September 2011 at 19:28 #

    Don't skimp, simple seasonings – almost peasant fare – perfect for my cool nights. Not looking for beauty – looking for flavor and a grand reason to talk at the dinner table. Double nourishment.

  9. 6 September 2011 at 13:34 #

    that is my kind of eating – many times the best, simple unpretentious as you say, not the prettiest, but the tastiest there is, and I would agree with the use of parsley here…

  10. 6 September 2011 at 09:21 #

    Hey Frank. I can't believe you posted this today I was just woolie (Fariello language for craving for all of you who don't know) for this dish!! As Frank's sister, I can atest to how unbelievable this dish is. Can't wait to make it tonight!!! And YES the oil is KEY!!! Now if I can only learn how to make your penne ala vodka…..

  11. 6 September 2011 at 07:22 #

    Thanks, folks, for your comments! This is a dish that holds a lot of meaning for me, homely as it is. Nice to know that other people, too, enjoy this kind of 'old time' eating!

    @Alzin Bloor: Many thanks for the kind words! Do feel free to stop by any time… :=))

  12. 6 September 2011 at 03:39 #

    I'm looking forward to making this! I give Italian and French cooking classes and absolutely love sites like yours for authenticity! Thx!

  13. 6 September 2011 at 01:06 #

    OMG, this dish looks absolutely spectacular!

  14. 5 September 2011 at 22:46 #

    Absolutely stunning! I'm a fan of olive oil and salt….and I completely agree with you. Some dishes, you've just gotta splurge!

  15. 5 September 2011 at 15:22 #

    Great recipe. Love it. Yum! Happy Labor Day!

  16. 5 September 2011 at 12:18 #

    Definitely Mama's comfort food……I can smell it now. And it comforts me!

  17. Anonymous
    5 September 2011 at 11:27 #

    This reminds me of those wonderful Greek potatoes – but without the lemon. It sounds fantastic!!! kate@kateiscooking

  18. 5 September 2011 at 10:19 #

    Agree w/Peggy about taste. But your pic still makes it look delicious!

  19. 5 September 2011 at 09:35 #

    Sometimes taste far-outweighs beauty – and this is one of those times! This meals sounds utterly delicious =)

  20. 5 September 2011 at 08:45 #

    My mouth is watering as I am reading this. In my mind I can taste this chicken already and I want seconds. Nice to see you posting again.

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