I am asked for my baked chicken recipe so often that I have decided to post it on my blog. I call it Class Chicken because I taught dance classes in my home studio for many years. The classes lasted an hour. I usually had one at 4:45 – 5:45PM. My dance studio was just a couple of rooms away from the kitchen. I could prepare the chicken for baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and pop the chicken and several baking potatoes into the oven a couple of minutes before I began teaching class. It would be perfectly cooked and I could serve dinner at 6:00! I was able to prepare this no fuss delicious chicken dinner and have dinner on the table a few minutes after my class was finished. The ultimate in multitasking, right?
My kids love this recipe! So do I. And every adult who has eaten it at my house want’s my secret. There is no secret. It is very simple to make. I have tagged this recipe for children as they love it. It is really an adult recipe fit for everyone!
You will need:
Chicken, olive oil, Herbes de Provence, rosemary spring, thyme sprig, bay leaf or several, salt and coarsely ground pepper, a fresh lemon
Baking Potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, sour cream, chives or green onions, lemon ~ if you want them for toppings.
You can use any kind of chicken cut into parts. You could use all breasts, and or thighs, or drumsticks, or a combination of those pieces or a whole chicken cut into parts. The amount is also optional. Cook as much as you will serve and eat for one meal or extra so you can save it to eat cold the next day. Baked chicken breasts are delicious sliced into small pieces and added to a green salad or put into a sandwich.
I use chicken with the skin on because I like the flavor and I like the crispy skin. I have used the skinless boneless variety and it works. It just isn’t as attractive or as tasty without the lovely crusty skin. I have no problem with fat, not does anyone in my family so we are able to eat whatever we like – such as skin on our roasted chicken!
Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees. Use a heavy cast iron skillet that can be put into the oven or a casserole dish. Choose one large enough to spread out all the chicken you choose to cook in one layer. Grease the pan with olive oil. Using a pastry brush paint each piece of chicken lightly with olive oil in order to make the herbs stick to it.
Put a very generous amount of Herbes de Provence in a mortor and pestle and add salt and coarsely ground black pepper in the proportionate amount you instinctively judge to be right. You can always add more salt and pepper, even after the chicken is cooked and tasted at the table. (Leave out the salt for people who are required not to use it.) Grind these ingredients together. Then coat each piece of chicken quite thoroughly with the herb mixture. I simply put the herbs in a pie pan and roll each piece of chicken through them until it is coated.
Arrange the chicken pieces in one layer in the cooking pan. Now add fresh bay leaves. Either place a whole leaf under a slit in the skin of a big piece of chicken like a breast, or tear the leaf in smaller pieces to put on each piece. I make a slit in the chicken skin with a sharp knife and insert the bay leaf or part of one under the skin. This imparts a lovely flavor to the meat.
It is important not to eat the bay leaves. Ever! The body cannot digest them and they end up in peoples appendixes! So remember to remove the bay leaves before eating. And tell everyone you are serving this.
If fresh rosemary and thyme is available, add a sprig of one or each. I simply lay a small “branch” across the top of the chicken. If you have several pieces cooking use a few small sprigs. You will also remove these at the end of the baking also along with the bay leaves.
The oven is now preheated to 400 Degrees. The chicken is now coated with the herbs, and in the cooking pan, with the bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme if you have it.
Put the chicken in its pan on the center rack of the oven and cook for one hour. You can check it at 45 minutes if you like, but it usually takes a full hour to bake through and develop a nice golden brown crispy crust. The chicken is done when the crust is browned. It smells divine while cooking. The herbs smell fabulous.
Remove the chicken from the oven, remove the bay leaves and any rosemary or thyme twigs before serving. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the meat for a nice fresh twinge of citrus.
If I am serving a group I put the chicken on a platter preheated in my dishwasher or under hot running to help keep the meat hot. If serving individuals or small groups I serve it directly on dinner plates.
I generally bake perfect potatoes at the same time as the chicken in the same oven! At the same 4oo degree preheated oven for an hour. Isn’t that easy? To bake a potato perfectly use a medium sized baker. Wash the skin with a brush. Puncture the potatoes with a sharp knife. I stab a knife into the skin and about an inch into the flesh of the potato about 5x per potato. (It is very important to do this or your potato will turn into a bomb and explode in your oven making a very loud noise and a terrible mess. It has happened at our house when somebody forgot to puncture a potato. And it was a disaster!)
I spent my summers on my grandparent’s ranch in southern Idaho as child and they raised potatoes. Idaho is know as the Potato State! The natives call themselves and each other Spuds! This is how Spuds bake perfect potatoes. My potatoes are perfectly cooked and fluffy inside at the same time the chicken is done. To test them for doneness pierce the potato with a sharp knife. If it goes in easily and the inside is soft it is cooked. If the potato is still firm and it is hard to insert the knife it needs to cook a little longer. (Do not over cook.)
I serve the potatoes with the chicken with butter, salt and pepper, or sour cream and chopped chives or green onions if they are available. I present the potatoes whole, unopened so they stay piping hot and let each diner put on his own choice and amount of garnishes. Salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice squeezed onto the flesh of a potato are also very good if one is trying to avoid butter. B sure to eat the skin as it is really tasty and full of nutrients.
I serve the Class Chicken and Perfect Baked Potatoes with a tossed green salad and my Sauce Vinaigrette salad dressing which is already published on this blog.
I make the salad in advance and stick it in the refrigerator while teaching class or whatever. I also make the dressing in advance and have it sitting out at room temperature. The salad is ready to serve after tossing with the dressing.
You can preset the dinner table, then put the chicken, the baked potatoes and the salad on the table and sit down to a great dinner in 10 minutes. A loaf of crusty French Bread is another nice addition.
I am really hungry after writing this! I want to go to the store to get the ingredients and make it tonight!
I will add a photo in a day or two. I am posting this today at a friend’s request.
Asides from me: Microwaved potatoes taste terrible. Oiling the skin of a potato on the outside before cooking it ruins it. Putting it in foil ruins it. Baking Potatoes are a perfect ready to easily cook gift from God. They come in their own baking dish (their own skin) and the entire thing is edible. They are, in my opinion, a perfect food. I have many other ways to cook potatoes as well which I will write up at some point.