The refrigerator in the butcher shop below our apartment hums in the summer, when it is at its busiest. The hum isn’t even consistent or constant. For the most part, it seems like a drained honey bee caught against glass in another room. But then, every now and then, it gets louder, first changing into a cross wasp, then into an old tube train, and then it stops so abruptly that it sounds like it has stopped working. Naturally, it hasn’t, and it will soon be humming again, like a child playing or a happy person out for a walk.
This fridge has sparked debate in our building and led to a divorce and many sleepless nights. I only know the volume because it has kept me company while reading or scrolling on my phone, and I sleep through almost everything. When there is less to do in the refrigerator during the winter, the problem goes away, and the hum becomes more like a vibration through the tiles. which are as well cozy. A grocery store, a refrigerator, and the chicken thighs for this week’s recipe—which are also great for a party—provide us with accidental underfloor heating.
This week, I went downstairs to get 12 thighs. As I stood at the cash desk, I could see the fridge. My butcher gestures when I purchase thighs, which I accept more as an indication of endorsement that I am not accepting bosoms. With skin and bone, a typical chicken thigh weighs between 90 and 100 grams. Because it shrinks during cooking, I estimate three per person.
The recipe starts with a marinade, during which time lemon softens the more obscure meat by denaturing or loosening up the long protein in the muscle and connective tissue, which likewise permits the garlic, rosemary and oregano to loosen up, as well. This recipe is motivated by Rena Salaman and her brilliant book Greek Food, a loving festival of customary recipes. It combines her roast chicken and potatoes with her lemon potatoes, which are soft and slightly sticky due to the reduced oil and lemon juice. The note Rena left about the potatoes applies here: They get golden when cooked with the chicken, but they don’t crisp up like other roast potatoes because they absorb all the juices, which is a good thing.
This recipe is very satisfying, just like the winter fridge; it only requires a few steps and one tray; warming not only the tiles but also the entire room and its inhabitants.
Lemon and rosemary-infused baked chicken and potatoes
- Serves 4 or 8 as part of a buffet
- 1.2 kilograms bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 5 peeled and quartered potatoes
- 1 large or 2 small lemon
- 150 milliliters olive oil
- 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves
- 2 sprigs rosemary Salt
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pre-heat the oven to 425F/gas 7 at 220C (200C fan). In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, chicken, and lemon juice. Add the olive oil, garlic, salt, oregano, and rosemary needles from one and two whole sprigs. Toss well. If you can, cut the lemons out of their skins into wedges, add them to the bowl, toss once more, and let them sit for 45 minutes.
Put the potatoes and chicken skin side down in a baking plate that obliges them in pretty much a solitary layer, making a point to scratch in all the marinade, then, at that point, cook for 45 minutes, turning the chicken halfway, so it is presently skin side up. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, then return the potatoes and lemon slivers to the oven and turn the heat up for about ten minutes, or until the potatoes are golden.
Add a small amount of white wine to the chicken’s juices after transferring the potatoes and lemon to the platter. Place the tray on a medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the tray to get rid of any bits, then pour the juices over the chicken and potatoes and serve.