Kitchn Love Letters

This Is the Most Impressive, Lazy Dinner I Know

published Dec 11, 2021
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Credit: Sheela Prakash

I keep a spreadsheet of all my dinner party successes and failures. All throughout last year, it pained me to even glance at my list of go-to dishes because I knew I wouldn’t be able to gather with those I love anytime soon. Only recently I returned to my list — and it felt like visiting old friends. There’s a slow-simmered Bolognese that never fails, and a chocolate mousse so decadent it practically requires those last sips of red wine.

But it’s a surprisingly simple recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s inspiring cookbook Jerusalem that I was most excited to dust off for my first small gathering. Their roasted chicken with Jerusalem artichoke and lemon is so deeply fragrant with saffron, herbs, and garlic that it perfumes the entire house. The best part? It’s equal parts lazy, versatile, and impressive, which is my all-time favorite combination.

Get the recipe: Roasted Chicken with Jerusalem Artichoke and Lemon from Jerusalem

A Make-Ahead Wonder for Any Occassion

Many of Ottolenghi’s recipes require a significant time commitment, which is why I typically turn to Jerusalem or Ottolenghi’s other cookbooks like Plenty when I’m looking to challenge myself in the kitchen. But this simple roast chicken recipe is the exact opposite.

To make it, you’ll combine bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with lemon juice, olive oil, thinly sliced lemons, tons of garlic and shallots, chopped fresh herbs, saffron, and Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes) in a large bowl and marinate the mixture overnight. An hour before dinner, you’ll dump everything into a large baking dish, roast it uncovered for 30 minutes, then roast it covered for 15 minutes. The result is a chicken dinner that’s glistening and saucy, with tender vegetables and caramelized lemon, all swimming in a luxurious saffron-scented pan sauce.

Credit: Sheela Prakash

If You Make This Roasted Chicken, a Few Tips

A recipe that impresses those around your table and yet is totally flexible and fuss-free for you isn’t always easy to come by. That’s what makes this roasted chicken is total win. Here’s how I like to play around and make it work for me.

  • Swap out the Jerusalem artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes can be hard to find outside of farmers markets and specialty stores. Baby potatoes are much easier to procure and even more of a crowd-pleaser, so I often swap them in. Par-boil them in salted water until just tender before marinating them with the chicken so they’ll be extra fluffy and tender when roasted. You could also try cauliflower or broccoli florets, halved Brussels sprouts, or a combination — no need to par-cook any of these.
  • Change out the fresh herbs. The recipe calls for a combination of fresh thyme and tarragon. Again, use this simply as a guideline. Any woody fresh herb will work. Rosemary, sage, and even oregano can take their place if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Keep the saffron. The one element I wouldn’t mess with here is the saffron. It’s really what sets this apart from any other chicken dinner and makes for a beautifully orange-hued pan sauce. While you can use a little less than the 1 teaspoon that’s called for, I do encourage you to splurge so you can enjoy all of saffron’s musky, floral goodness.

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.