I have now made this recipe several times as it’s an easy one-pan dinner that still manages to look and taste impressive. But perhaps the favorite time I made it was for my friend John.
John and I met in London ten years ago while working at the same company. We pretty much instantly clicked as colleagues and one day, just before a bank holiday weekend, I asked him if he wanted to meet for brunch. We’d never really been out together outside of the office but I had a hunch that we’d get on. Luckily for me, his partner was away that weekend so he was free and happy to meet. We essentially met at noon and brunch led to afternoon drinks which in turn led to dinner and more drinks until we left each other much, much later that night. At some point in the night (and neither of us remember exactly when of course) John’s sister called him and he answered exclaiming “I’m out with a French girl and she is drinking me under the table!”. We like to tell this story to everyone who will indulge us in hearing it and it was the start of our enduring friendship.
I moved to New York two years after meeting John. He lived in London for a while longer but eventually also moved here, much to my delight. But life conspired against us once again and he moved to Los Angeles in November last year. I have already visited him of course and I suspect I will be making quite a few more trips to the East Coast.
Back to the food – this was the last meal I made for John before he left for LA. It was a bit of a last minute invitation as his departure date crept up on me (I was probably in denial about it) and one of his friends (who I know as well) was staying with him so he came along and I also invited our friend Caroline. As it was a week night, I needed something that was going to be easy and wouldn’t require a ton of preparation. And I immediately gravitated to this dish that was first published in the New York Times: roasted chicken with potatoes, arugula and garlic yogurt. The chicken and potatoes are marinated in sriracha for a few hours which doesn’t make it overwhelmingly spicy as you might imagine but does impart a wonderful smokey flavor and a subtle warmth that gently hits the back of your throat after a few bites.
I have adapted it a little of course. The recipe calls for harissa but I use sriracha instead and I also prefer fingerling potatoes to yukon gold because I love their shape and texture. I tend to leave out the arugula and prefer to serve a fresh green salad with a champagne vinaigrette on the side – hence the different title I gave this recipe.
Sriracha Marinated Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes and Leeks
- 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
- 1 ¼ pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
- 2 tablespoons harissa (or use another thick hot sauce, such as sriracha)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest (from 1/2 lemon)
- ⅓ cup plain yogurt (do not use Greek yogurt)
- 1 small garlic clove
- 2 ounces baby arugula
- Chopped fresh dill, as needed
- Lemon juice, as needed
- Combine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together harissa, cumin and 3 tablespoons oil. Pour over chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 25 to 30 minutes longer.
- While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Press garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve, spoon yogurt over chicken and vegetables in the pan. Scatter dill liberally and drizzle with oil and lemon juice before serving.