"So Basic" puts a trendy twist on your favorite dishes with our culinary producer and resident cookie man Grant Melton. Learn how to make everything from fried chicken to chocolate cake—but better—with Grant’s pro tips and tricks, by subscribing here.
When I was a kid, my mom would always ask my brothers and I what we wanted for dinner. My brother, Justin, would respond, “Something easy like roast chicken and mashed potatoes.” My mom laughed and made spaghetti instead. She was a great cook, but a roast chicken and potato dinner wasn’t part of her quick dinner repertoire.
For a busy homecook, a hearty comfort meal like mashed potatoes and roast chicken—which requires some time to make and a lots of pots and pans (ugh—dishes!)—is typically off the table for a weeknight supper. So for my this episode of "So Basic," I wanted to make an easy chicken dinner even easier (and quicker) by cooking it all in a single skillet and using just breasts rather than the whole bird for my One-Pan Roast Chicken + Mashed Potatoes.
I start by searing the chicken in a big cast-iron pan. I used chicken breasts, but you could use skin-on chicken thighs if you want to save a buck or two. As YouTuber Aaron points out, chicken thighs are a bit more moist too since they have more fat.
While the chicken is searing, it’s a great time to peel and cut your potatoes. Like Rachael, I love a garlicky mash. In an effort to make things ever simpler, I don’t even chop the taters I just smash them, take their skins off, throw 'em in the pan -- super easy!
I like to add some herbs, too -- and I don’t chop those either. Just add the bay and thyme right into the pan.
Once everything is cozy in the pan, add in some chicken stock and put the seared chicken right over top. Place the pan into the oven and let is roast for 25 minutes. The stock will both steam the chicken, keeping it moist and adding an extra “chickeny” flavor to the creamy mash!
While the chicken roasts, I make a chimichurri topper. It’s super simple. If you can press a button on a food processor, you can make this sauce. But if you’re a gravy-lover (I mean, who isn’t?!) try Rach’s No-Fail Gravy. And if you love BBQ, I love Clinton Kelly’s sticky-sweet mango twist.
When you remove the skillet from the oven, transfer the chicken to a few dinner plates or onto a cutting board for slicing. Discard the thyme and bay, and using a potato masher, start mashing. Once you’ve got your potatoes to a consistency that you like, add in some half and half and some butter -- and try not to get hypnotized by the creamy, dreamy side dish.
I like to plate my dinner by putting a giant dollop of mashed potatoes into the center of the plate, top it with some sliced roasted chicken and then spoon over some herby, spicy chimichurri. But you could, of course, top your dinner however you'd like!
PS: One-pan dinners are quite trendy for obvious reasons--why use a recipe that involves three pans when you could make dinner with just one?! Here are 13 more of our best one-pan dinners.