roast chicken and potatoes with thyme, lemon and garlic

March 23, 2015 § 56 Comments


If you are interested in roasting a whole chicken this is the one for you.  This recipe is from Tessa Kiros’ Apples for Jam.  Not only is the chicken wonderfully moist and fork tender but the potatoes are similar to what you will find in a small taverna on a Greek island.  Lemon, butter, thyme, and garlic roasted along with the juices of the chicken create honest to goodness, melt in your mouth potatoes. This recipe calls for whipping cream to make a luscious sauce at the end to pour over the chicken.  We have skipped the sauce and the chicken is fabulous without. Tessa’s recipe only calls for 4 cloves of garlic but in my opinion if you don’t use at least 8 or so you’ll be competing for them at the dinner table.


As Tessa mentions, you will have to use a roasting pan that can also be put on the stovetop to heat up the sauce.  If you don’t have anything suitable, you can transfer all the chicken juices to a small saucepan.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 organic, pasture raised chicken (about 3-1/2 pounds)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 10 thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 or 7 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 – 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup water, plus 4 to 5 tablespoons
  • 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Wipe the chicken with paper towels and put breast side down in a large roasting pan.  Put a little salt, a garlic clove, 3 thyme sprigs and 1 bay leave in the cavity of the chicken.  Place the potatoes and remaining garlic around and pour the lemon juice over the top.  Rub the skin of the chicken with some of the butter and dot the rest over the potatoes.  Bury the rest of the thyme sprigs  and bay leaves under the potatoes, then sprinkle salt on the potatoes and the chicken.  Pour 1 cup of water around the edge of the pan.

Roast for about one hour or until the chicken is nicely golden, then turn it over and shuffle the potatoes around.  Spoon the pan juices over the top of the chicken and potatoes and sprinkle salt over the new top of the chicken.  Roast for about 30 more minutes, shuffling the potatoes around again halfway through without breaking them up too much, or until the chicken is deep golden and crispy and its juices run clear.  Transfer the chicken to a generous serving platter with a bit of a raised edge and arrange the potatoes around the chicken.  Keep warm.

Put the roasting pan of cooking juices over medium heat on the stovetop.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the golden bits from the sides and bottom of the pan.  If there isn’t much liquid, add 4 to 5 tablespoons of water.  Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened.  Stir the cream through and let it all bubble up, whisking so it all comes together as one.  Pour over the chicken on the platter and serve immediately.

Serves 4.


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§ 56 Responses to roast chicken and potatoes with thyme, lemon and garlic

  • Karinna says:

    This looks so very appetising. Welcome back!

  • nantesmom says:

    This is just what our house of colds needs tonight! Perfect timing, thank you :) It sounds wonderful even with taste-buds impaired!

  • Valerie says:

    A favorite meal around here, and chicken and thyme are just the best of friends. I’m putting my request for dinner tonight!

  • That looks perfectly roasted!

  • Hello my lovely friend… I was so happy to see your post in my email! This looks absolutely fabulous. I was just at my mom’s house yesterday, and she had some chicken out, wondering how she should season it. This would have been perfect! <3 I hope all is well..

  • Kristy Uddin says:

    YES! This is why you need to keep this up so I know what to cook for dinnger!

  • nancyc says:

    Looks delicious! I love the thyme, lemon, and garlic flavorings, too!

  • This looks beautiful! It makes me look forward to the return of cold weather and making roast chicken again…love the sound of the lemony potatoes.

    • Thank you so much! I agree cooler weather is necessary for a chicken to roast in the oven for a few hours, and when that times comes it brings such comfort! I just stopped in and visited your gorgeous post on pickled radishes. I can’t wait to make a few jars!

  • What a beautiful chicken and I can only imagine the potatoes! You’ve outdone yourself!

  • Double yum. I make something similar with lots of chilli, rosemary, lemon,garlic and olive oil. You’re spot on about the garlic – I always use at least eight cloves.

    • When I read your comment I wanted to run out and buy another chicken. I love the idea of chili, rosemary, lemon, garlic and olive oil. I’m going to make one again real soon using your ingredients. Thank you for stopping in!

  • How lovely Seana! Another gorgeous recipe of Tessa’s that I haven’t tried yet… but will definitely have to now! I love roast dinners that are all cooked in the one pot – makes life simple and I can just imagine how fabulous the flavours must be. Great to see you back! :) M.xx

    • Hi Margot! I thought of you when I grabbed Apples for Jam off the shelf. I have made this chicken so often that when I randomly opened the book it was the page with this recipe. Ha! My poor copy is so tattered, spattered and the dust cover is barely hanging on. Obviously I love it. Let me know if/when you make this, I’d love to hear how much you enjoyed it. :)

      • Oh Seana, there are roast chickens… and then, THERE ARE ROAST CHICKENS! We just sat down to a beautiful dinner this evening, using this recipe with the sauce included. It was absolutely beautifully moist and cooked to perfection and the sauce was to-die-for. This will be my new go-to recipe… thanks to you. Hope you’re having a lovely Easter. M.xx

      • Couldn’t be happier to hear this Margot! I know exactly what you mean about this recipe! I have made this chicken countless times and it always turns out perfect. Tessa really nailed this one. :) How about those potatoes?! Happy Easter to you as well. We are getting ready to fire up the grill and throw on some oysters. :/ Not sure if I’ll eat any though…I’m hot and cold when it comes to oysters, clams and & mussels. xx

  • Michelle says:

    Yes, at least 8 cloves!

  • Ah, it’s been a while! Won’t ask. That way I won’t judge. :)
    This reminds me of a dish a Spanish friend (that I used to know) made quite often. This was one of her staples, without the thyme. And it doesn’t need any fussing with the juices at the end. Always delicious.

    • Well look at your new look! I really like your gravatar. I’m way out of touch with all my favorite’s, I’m heading over now to see if you have been posting. Nice to hear from you, always great to see your comments Johnny!

  • ladyredspecs says:

    Good to see you in my WP reader Seana!! A whole roast chicken, lemon, potato, Tess Kiros, a winner in my mind, esp as I’ve just come in from the market with a beautiful organic chicken. Thanks

    • Hi Sandra! So glad to hear from you! It’s definitely taking me a bit to get back in the groove of blogging again. We are remodeling our home and it’s unimaginable how much time it takes from my already busy schedule. I kept taking photo’s of dinners and whatnot, but just didn’t have the time to sit and bring it all together for a blog post. Now it’s like starting over because the photographs I have are for cold weather meals and here we are entering Spring! What did you end up doing with your chicken? Organic chickens are wonderful. :)

      • ladyredspecs says:

        I understand how demanding renovation is, it’s only a few years since we did our place, I swear the experience aged me 10 years! So much for the beautiful chicken I bought. I split the seal on the bag and was nearly knocked over by the horrid smell. I returned it to the butcher for a refund! Very disappointing!!

  • What a wonderful surprise to see you again Seana! What a fabulous recipe. Kudos to both you and Tess for bringing it to us, thanks!

  • I am a fan of that Tessa bird. I do indeed like her style. I also like that chicken, it looks damn tasty indeed my friend! :)

  • Conor Bofin says:

    A most delicious chicken. Love it. I cooked one with a cous cous stuffing the other evening I will be repeating and posting.

  • Jody and Ken says:

    Classic old school. Great. Ken

    • It’s so nice to hear from you Ken. I really miss your posts. I visited recently and noticed you are posting once a month. AND, I missed the date to nominate you for 2015 Saveur Blog of the Year! So sorry because in my opinion you are the top of the list.

      • Jody and Ken says:

        We’re going to shift to a more frequent schedule in the near future. In the meantime, you’ll have a chance to redeem yourself by voting for us, IF we make the finals. Thanks for the kind words–it’s nice to be missed. Ken

  • Seana – I borrowed Tessa Kiros’s books from the library after finding her on your blog. Love her style – and the simple rustic appeal of everything she makes. This chicken is such a great example and you’ve done a lovely job of presenting it.
    Such a joy to see you back. And understand only too well the pressures of renovating a house, working, and other deadlines. Phew. I hope the remodeling has gone well and that you’re thrilled with your new home. Sneak us a photograph some time. xox

    • So wonderful to hear from you Lindy! Right now we are refinishing our doug fir floors. It’s a huge job. We are on our knees and it’s not very different from yoga! Looking forward to finishing, that’s for sure. We are living in our kitchen right now. I guess if I had to choose any room in the house to spend all my time it would be the kitchen! I will definitely sneak a photo in when it’s all said and done. Did you cook anything from Tessa’s book? I haven’t experienced one bad recipe. She’s brilliant.

  • Looks so delicious!!

  • milkandbun says:

    So glad to see you&your post Seana! :) I love roast chicken, it’s always a pleasure to cook it and share a dinner with family and friends. xoxo ~Mila

  • cheri says:

    So glad you are back. Your chicken looks perfectly cooked. Love Tessa Kiros, I have her Falling Cloudberries cookbook which is great.

    • Hi Cheri. I was thinking about you the other day and wondering what you have been cooking these days. I have skimmed through Falling Cloudberries but never cooked a recipe from it. I imagine it is fantastic. Tessa can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. :) I’m heading over to your blog now. Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment.

    • Cheri, for the life of me I am unable to leave a comment on your blog! Don’t know what I’m doing wrong. :/

  • What a beautiful chicken. I love how you cook. Simple and homey. What a great recipe. Reminds me of my grandma’s cooking :) Nice to see you here :)

    • Thank you so much Amanda! I’m happy to bring you back to the memory of your grandma’s cooking. :) I loved both of my grandma’s cooking and have such fond memories of sitting at their dinner table. Priceless old fashioned meals.

  • Liz says:

    love the whole chicken treatment! This looks lovely and warm and savory. Good to see you again :-)

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