Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Oregano, and Potatoes

Roasted chicken served with rice and vegetables. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

In the winter, comfort foods are a great option for dinner on cold evenings. A roasted chicken and potatoes with the classic Greek flavors of lemon and oregano makes a delicious meal whether it’s a weeknight or a family Sunday dinner. Serve with your favorite side dishes and store any leftover chicken in the refrigerator for the next day’s lunch or dinner.

The safe minimum cooking temperature for chicken recommended by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Oregano, and Potatoes

1 whole organic chicken

2-3 lemons

Greek dried oregano

Greek sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Greek extra virgin olive oil (optional)

5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and halved, lengthwise

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If your oven has a convection roast feature, use it, but raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F since the convection fan may lower the overall temperature of your oven.

Peel and halve the potatoes lengthwise and set them in a bowl with cold water to prevent them turning brown while you prepare the chicken. Rinse the chicken with cold water and place breast side up in a roasting pan with space enough for the potatoes. Squeeze the lemons and drizzle over the top of the chicken and into the cavity. Stuff the cavity with one or two of the squeezed out lemon halves. If using, drizzle with some olive oil. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and oregano, preferably from Greece, to taste.

Place the potatoes around the chicken in the pan and season with salt, pepper and oregano, to taste. Roast the chicken and potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the chicken, or until the breast begins to lightly color. Then, using a fork, or two forks if the chicken is large, turn the chicken breast side down, sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano and continue roasting until the skin is golden brown, then turn the chicken again, and roast until the breast side is golden brown and the potatoes are done, another 40 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the chicken and the strength of the oven. If the potatoes seem to be browning too much on one side, turn them as well and continue roasting.

You may need to remove the potatoes from the baking pan if they seem to be disintegrating before the chicken is done. Remove the pan from the oven and tent the chicken with foil to allow to rest 15-20 minutes before carving. The resting time keeps the chicken moist. If there are pan drippings left, drizzle them over the cut chicken pieces before serving. Serve the chicken and potatoes with a side salad or the cooked vegetables of your choice.

If desired, a few carrots, celery stalks, garlic cloves, and a quartered onion may also be added along with the potatoes to the roasting pan for additional flavor. During the roasting process, you may need to add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan in case it dries out.