It's always around this time of year when I begin to crave something a bit fresher on the old palate. I'm well 'over' the whole autumn/winter season, and I'm done with soups, stews and steaming bowls full of food. I'm also starting to look forward to a holiday of sun, sea and sand, and my brain is now in full summer mode. This recipe is inspired by a favourite Greek restaurant of mine in Houston, Texas, where their melting lemon potatoes and delicious gyros are the perfect balance of fresh and tasty in hot weather. I had a go at trying to create my own version here in rainy England, and this was definitely not far off the mark!
Ingredients- serves 4
1 Large whole chicken
800g small potatoes
6 cloves of Garlic
A large handful of sprigs of Thyme
5 Tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cups of Greek natural yogurt
1 Cup Greek olives (green or black, or whatever kind you like!)
150g Feta Cheese
4 Large middle eastern flat-breads (try to avoid tortilla wraps....not the same thing!!)
Salt and Pepper
Plenty of fresh salad leaves, tomatoes and cucumber
Preheat the oven 180 degrees c (350 degrees f, or gas mark 4), and place the chicken in a roasting pan. Put on a large pan of water to boil (for the potatoes). Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over the chicken, and place the remains inside the chicken, with 1 clove of garlic and a generous handful of sprigs of fresh thyme. Carefully separate the skin from the breast, by slowly pushing in with your fingers, and place slices of garlic and more sprigs of thyme under the skin, to get the most flavour in the meat. Cut the remaining 1/2 of the lemon in two, and place between each wing and the breast bone of the chicken. Drizzle the chicken with 2 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper, and pop into the oven.
Peel the potatoes but leave them whole, and part boil them in water for around 8 minutes, until only just softening. In another roasting dish, add the zest and juice one 1 lemon, 3 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves of sliced garlic and plenty of salt and pepper. When the potatoes are part boiled, drain well, and add them to the roasting pan, gently spiking each one a couple of times with a sharp knife. Spoon the lemon oil over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminium foil, putting into the oven about 20 minutes after the chicken, and roasting (covered) for an hour.
Roast the chicken for about 1 hour 20 minutes, until the juices run clear, and take out of the oven and leave to rest for about 10 minutes. Remove the foil from the potatoes and baste in the liquid, before popping back in the oven, uncovered, for the last 10 minutes while you carve the chicken and shred the meat into a large bowl.
Serve the chicken with the large flat-breads, a good dollop of Greek yogurt, salad, olives and feta cheese, with the delicious fluffy lemon potatoes on the side.
I was pretty chuffed with how these turned out, and will definitely be trying variations of these on the BBQ this summer!! Let me know how you get on if you decide to make these at home!