Crispy Mustard Chicken with Schmaltzy Potatoes
Cooking chicken over potatoes is a game-changer. The potatoes absorb the chicken schmaltz (aka chicken fat) and drippings, simultaneously preventing the chicken from having a soggy bottom and ensuring that the potatoes are super flavorful.
For this recipe, I blended the general concept of cooking chicken over potatoes with Ina Garten's Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken, which is one of my favorite Ina recipes. I also added bacon fat in just for fun. This is an easy, one-pot dinner that can be easily adapted to different flavor profiles.
Here's how to make crispy mustard chicken with schmaltzy potatoes:
-1) Preheat your oven to 400 F.
1) Make the chicken marinade: mix 1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard, a splash of dry white wine, 1-2 grated garlic cloves, zest and juice from half a lemon, salt, and black pepper. Add honey until the marinade tastes balanced.
2) Marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs in the marinade for about 15 minutes.
3) While the chicken marinates, prepare your bread crumb topping and potatoes:
For the bread crumb topping: season panko bread crumbs with salt, black pepper, and lemon zest. To determine how much panko you'll need, match the surface area of one side of your chicken - if your marinating chicken covers a dinner plate, you'll need enough panko to cover the same size dinner plate.
For the potatoes: cut potatoes into 1-inch thick slices. I like to use fingerling potatoes and cut them lengthwise in half.
4) Heat a large oven-save skillet on medium heat. Add a spoonful of bacon fat. (You can use olive oil as an alternative.) Once the bacon fat is melted, toss the potato slices in the bacon fat until they are evenly coated. Then turn all the potatoes skin-side-up in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Let them cook like this for about 5 minutes.
5) Set the chicken pieces on top of the potatoes. Make sure there is space around each piece of chicken to allow steam to escape.
6) Toss the panko bread crumb mixture with a dash of olive oil until most of the crumbs are lightly oiled. Top each piece of chicken with a layer of bread crumbs.
7) Put the pan in the oven and cook until the chicken has an internal temperature of 160 F. The bottoms of the potatoes should be crisp and golden, and the insides will be creamy and flavorful from the chicken drippings. (If the chicken cooks very fast and the potatoes aren't as brown as you want them, finish it on the stove!)