Stroll the streets of Paris and the rich aroma hits you before the racks come into view: rotating rotisseries of browned whole chickens dribbling savory juice over a tray of potatoes, beckoning you from across the cobblestones.
I daresay the best way to cook potatoes is nestled underneath chicken. While I don't keep a rotisserie in my stateside kitchen, I have found that the slow cooker gives me the juicy, tender chicken and buttery, chicken schmaltz-soaked potatoes that I remember so well.
A love letter to Parisian chicken and potatoes: The Semi-Secret Glories of Rotisserie Chicken
Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are the secret to impressive and inexpensive meals. The dark meat is more flavorful than its white meat counterpart and stays juicy despite cooking for several hours in the slow cooker. Start by deeply browning the chicken skin in a hot skillet. Once you put the chicken down, don't move it until it releases easily from the pan — no prying or pulling necessary. Put down your tongs and wait until the skin turns a deep amber hue (a sure sign that rich, caramel flavors are developing).
A splash of chicken broth to deglaze of the pan and release the fond (those savory browned bits that cling to the bottom of the pan) makes a savory broth to pour over tiny new potatoes. The skin will lose its crisp texture in the slow cooker, instead resembling the supple skin of the chicken on Parisian rotisseries.
What Are New Potatoes?
New potatoes are simply baby potatoes. They can be any variety; you may see new Yukon Golds or even purple potatoes in the market. I consider new red potatoes the classic welcome to spring. They are small with tender skins, and when cooked low and slow, they develop a creamy, buttery texture. Simply flavored with a knob of rich butter, a few wisps of citrusy lemon zest, and a sprinkle of fresh green chives, the succulent flavor of slow cooked chicken is front and center.
Recipes to Finish Off That Bag of New Potatoes
Slow Cooker Chicken and Potatoes
unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
finely grated lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon)
1 1/4 teaspoons
kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 pounds
small red potatoes, halved or quartered if large
bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
freshly ground black pepper
low-sodium chicken broth
Sour cream, for serving
Place 2 tablespoons of the butter, chives, lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl and mash together until completely combined; set aside.
Arrange potatoes in a single layer in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Scatter the garlic cloves over the potatoes.
Season the chicken on both sides with the pepper and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken skin-side down and sear until deeply browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
Arrange the chicken, skin-side up, in a single layer on top of the potatoes in the slow cooker. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and pour in the chicken broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Pour the broth into the slow cooker, but try to avoid pouring directly onto the crisp, browned skin of the chicken thighs. Use a small spoon to dollop the the chive and lemon butter evenly over the chicken.
Lay a double layer of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel over the top of the slow cooker to catch condensation. Cover and cook on the LOW setting until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant-read thermometer and the potatoes are tender, about 4 hours.
Transfer the chicken to serving plates, then toss the potatoes with the buttery broth. Spoon the potatoes and buttery broth onto the plates, then top them with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh chives.
Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.