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Dinner Rush! Skillet-Roasted Chicken & Potatoes

Congratulations, digital world — we all made it!  We survived the End of the World, championed the drunken Saturday thereafter (and its inevitable sister, hangover Sunday), managed to white knuckle our way through a flawless Christmas day and even shepherded in this millennium’s first lucky number 13.

With all that going on, who’s got time to think about dinner?  Moreover, who’s got the stomach for even more leftovers?  Take this week off and whip up a meal that is truly a “one dish” wonder.

This recipe is one of my go-to’s because of how easy it is to prepare.  It’s also super flexible – make it up with whatever you have at home: carrots, parsnips, turnips; save yourself the trip to the store, truly anything will do.

Oh, and don’t worry, that flash of prep time listed below isn’t a typo.  This meal comes together in a snap, leaving you more time to work on all those New Year’s resolutions you made.

Skillet-Roasted Chicken & Potatoes
Yield:  4 servings
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Active Time:  5 minutes
Total Time:  1 hour

6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 roaster chicken (about 5 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
1 head garlic
Dijon mustard, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large baking dish or cast iron skillet, arrange the potatoes, onion, and thyme.  Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and add in the stock or white wine.  Arrange the chicken over the vegetables and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the chicken with about 3 tablespoons of the oil.

Place the pan into the oven and roast until the potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.

As soon as the pan goes into the oven, tear off a small square of aluminum foil.  Cut about 1/2-inch off from the top of the head of garlic to expose all of the cloves.  Place the garlic cut side up on the piece of foil, drizzle it with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, and season it with salt and pepper.  Close up the foil around the garlic and roast it in the oven until the cloves are tender and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

When everything is ready, transfer the chicken to a serving plate.  Squeeze the garlic out of its head into a small bowl and mash it into a paste.  Add the garlic paste to the pan with the potatoes and toss to coat.  Serve the chicken with the potatoes and some Dijon mustard.

Note:  If you want to get a bit of green into this meal, toss 1 1/2 cups baby spinach in with the hot potatoes before serving (the residual heat will wilt it down).

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars like Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee and Paula Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest tweets on Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.

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