Ludi’s Chicken

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This is my sister Tanja’s recipe. Ludi is a nickname: she calls me Ludi, and I call her Ludi (our children often look puzzled). This dish just seems to work for all ages and however many people happen to end up eating. You can even serve it at room temperature and the potatoes still end up tasting good — which is not a common thing for roast potatoes, really.

Ingredients

  • 4 or 5 large potatoes, peeled
  • 2 heaped tablespoons grainy mustard
  • juice of 2 lemons (but save the squeezed lemon halves)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano or thyme, crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized chicken (about 1.3 kg/3 lb)
  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves, with their skin left on
  • 125 ml (½ cup) white wine

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Halve the potatoes lengthways and then cut them into three or four pieces so that they look like giant chips.

Mix together the mustard, lemon juice, oregano and olive oil to make a marinade. Put the chicken, potatoes, onion wedges, bay leaves and 4 garlic cloves in a large oven dish. Season the potatoes and chicken (outside and in the cavity) with salt and pepper. Put two of the squeezed lemon halves and the remaining garlic in the chicken cavity. Splash the marinade over the chicken and potatoes, shuffling them around with your hands so they are well coated. Gently pour a cupful of water into the dish (trying not to wash away the marinade). Roast for about 1 hour.

After an hour the top of the chicken should be getting brown. Pour the wine over the top, turn the potatoes and onions, and roast for another hour, turning the chicken when it is well browned on top. Check that the potatoes are still in a little liquid — if they look dry, add a little more hot water.

The chicken should be golden brown, juicy and cooked through. If it seems done but you think the potatoes might need longer, remove the chicken to a warmed serving platter. The potatoes, however, should not be crispy but golden and juicy and there should be a little sauce in the dish to serve with the chicken. If it is dry, add some hot water to the dish and scrape the bits from the bottom and sides to make more sauce. Serve hot or even at room temperature.

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