Few things are more comforting than the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven, promising a delicious dinner to come, especially on a crisp fall day. This Greek-inspired version of the dish reminds me of cooking with my mom, both because of the flavors she embraced on behalf of my Greek dad, and because I like to cook it in a large cast iron pot, just like the ones my mom saved up for and that have lasted for decades in her kitchen. While I know you’ve seen (many) recipes for roast chicken before, this version adds two noteworthy updates into the mix, which make it a robustly flavored one-pot meal. First, it calls for roasting the chicken on a bed of petite fingerling potatoes, which get tender and buttery as they soak up the juices from the roasting bird. Then, in true Greek fashion, I turn to leftover olive brine—yes, the juice from the olive jar—to infuse the vegetables with its rich, salty flavor.
TIPS & TRICKS
Pick up the best possible bird you can find for this recipe. I try to find organic, antibiotic- free, free-range chickens whenever possible. Any chicken will work with this recipe, but the better the bird, the more tender and delicious your dinner will be. If the weight is under 5 pounds, uncover the pot after 45 minutes of roasting.
If you can’t find fingerling potatoes, don’t worry—any small potatoes will work fine. For best results, use potatoes that are no bigger than 1½ to 2 inches thick. If all you have are larger potatoes, cut them into chunky pieces to help them cook evenly.
Trussing a chicken with twine keeps the items you stuffed into the cavity in place and helps the chicken legs roast evenly. Here’s my preferred method for doing it; use cotton butcher’s twine for best results:
Cut an approximately 3-foot length of twine. Find the center of the twine and evenly drape the ends over the chicken. Loop the twine under the wings so that when you pull up, the chicken “stands up.” Cross the ends of the twine over the breast side of the chicken and then again around the back so the wings are held tight to the body. Next, wrap the twine over each leg from the outside in so that both strands are now between the legs. Loop each strand back to the outside of the legs, pushing the legs close to the body, and tightening the twine to remove any slack. Bring the ends of the twine together over the tail, pull them tight, and tie them into a knot. Cut any excess twine.
Dutch Oven Chicken Pot Roast with Fingerling Potatoes, Shallots, and Olives
- 1 (5- to 6-pound/2.2 to 2.7 kg) whole chicken
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 lemons
- 1-1/2 pounds (675g) fingerling potatoes
- 6 shallots, halved lengthwise
- 2 heads garlic, halved widthwise
- 1/2 cup (120ml) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 1/4 cup (60ml) olive brine (from jarred olives)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 cups (270g) jarred pitted olives, such as Kalamata and/or Castelvetrano
- Chopped fresh oregano or parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Remove and discard any giblets from the chicken; check to be sure that the cavity is empty. Set the chicken aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the salt, pepper, oregano, and red pepper. Zest the lemons and add the zest to the salt mixture. Rub the mixture with your fingers to combine.
- Halve the lemons and set aside. In a large Dutch oven, combine 2 of the lemon halves with the potatoes, shallots, and 1 head of the garlic. Pour in the wine and olive brine.
- Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the chicken cavity. Add the remaining 2 lemon halves and head of garlic to the cavity as well. Drizzle the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle the outside with the remaining salt mixture. Truss the chicken with butcher’s twine (see Tips & Tricks in headnote).
- Place the chicken on top of the potatoes in the pot and arrange the shallots around the chicken. Cover the pot and roast for 1 hour. Uncover, scatter the olives around the chicken, and roast uncovered until the chicken is browned and crispy and the internal temperature has reached 165ºF, 30 to 40 minutes more.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Discard the lemons, transfer the potatoes, olives, and shallots to a bowl, leaving the drippings in the pot, and cover to keep warm. Squeeze the garlic cloves into the drippings, mash with a fork, and stir to combine. Place the pot over medium-low heat to keep the drippings warm.
- Carve the chicken (or pull it apart with your hands!) and serve with potatoes, shallots, and warm pan juices. Garnish with herbs, if desired.