I thought Gwyneth Paltrow's recipe for roast chicken with potatoes from her website GOOP looked interesting, so I decided to test it in my own kitchen. The verdict? It's quite good, actually. Just the kind of recipe to have on hand for when you want a casual but delicious meal in less than an hour. Read on for more details.
The recipe calls for the chicken to be partially deboned and roasted with lemon, fresh herbs, garlic, and a tumble of peeled and blanched potatoes. I gave it a try over the weekend and here's what I discovered.
CONS: The only real problem I have with the recipe (and the video) is the lack of instructions on how to remove the thigh bone from the chicken. The comment "just kinda get the meat away the bone..." isn't enough and in the video the camera inconveniently pans up to Ms. Paltrow's face when the technique is being demonstrated. I ended up skipping this step since I was having someone over for dinner and didn't want to serve a mutilated chicken. It's suggested that you can ask your butcher to do this for you, which is true, but some close-ups of the technique and tips on how I could do this for myself would have been helpful.
She also doesn't suggest that you save the thigh and back bones for stock, which I would absolutely do — just pop them into a plastic bag and into the freezer until you have enough parts saved up for you favorite stock recipe.
And a final, minor quibble. I would have liked to have seen the chicken being cut into serving pieces. This step is often intimidating to new cooks, so some instruction would have been nice.
PROS: I like her technique for parboiling the potatoes first and then shaking them up to fuzz their surface, which helps to crisp the outsides when roasting. This technique isn't new or unique, by the way, which Ms. Paltrow admits when she says she learned it in England. But it does work. Just don't shake the pot too vigorously or you'll smash the potatoes. (Ahem.)
Everything else worked out great in the recipe. I liked the suggestion to leave the lemon in the pan so it caramelizes and found the technique of slipping the fresh herbs under the chicken to be really effective: the herbs gently permeate the chicken while cooking, leaving a not-to-overpowering flavor.
The chicken came out with a crispy skin and moist, tender, flavorful meat. If you master your boning skills (or have your butcher do it for you) this recipe should produce exactly what Ms. Paltrow says it does: an absolutely delicious, quick dinner.
The printed version of the recipe is on the GOOP website, here. There is also a recipe for a salad, which I didn't test, although the dressing with mustard, maple syrup and shallot sounded good.
Related: How to Roast a Chicken, Zuni-Style