recently my husband and i had dinner at a friend’s house and dinner included roasted potatoes in a delicious chimichurri sauce with lots of cilantro and some citrus and some garlic and i wasn’t actually paying very close attention to what else was used because i was expecting to be not that into the potatoes because i am what i believe to be the only person in america who doesn’t particularly care about potatoes.
turns out i care about them a whole bunch when they are a vehicle for cilantro, garlic, lime, and jalapeño. when i think about ingredients that are always in my fridge (and guacamole – yum!), it turns out to not be terribly surprising that i love roasted potatoes when they get this chimichurri treatment.
so, anyway, since i hadn’t really been paying that much attention to what sorcery went into creating the super yummy potatoes at my friend’s house, clearly my next step was to prowl around on the internet and unearth the chimichurri-ish recipes that i had squirreled away in my ‘recipes to cook’ folder.
after consulting a few different recipes, i felt ready to give making chimichurri sauce a try (by which i mean, leave out one of the key ingredients that was common to every single recipe i read because parsley is gross and i just will not).
fortunately, the combination of cilantro, lime, garlic, and jalapeño turns out to be pretty forgiving and difficult to really mess up. once i had tweaked the ratios to my satisfaction, i set about finding something to douse in the sauce.
clearly potatoes were on the list. and why not sweet potatoes, while we’re at it? my husband is always campaigning for more chicken and i love crispy, oven roasted kale (see also: smoky sheet pan salmon and vegetables for my introduction to the delightful magic of oven roasted kale). aaaand done!
thus, roasted chicken and potatoes with chimichurri was born. and maybe, just maybe, i’m beginning to see what the fuss about potatoes is all about… (more likely though, i continue to love cilantro + garlic + lime + jalapeño. but it’s nice to find a new thing to slather it on.)
ps – my reader survey is up through the end of this week – i’d love to hear from you! big hugs to those of you who have already told me what you think! i’m looking forward to implementing some shiny, new things based on what i’m hearing…
- 1 lb. (454 g.) small fingerling potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes (goal: approximately 1 lb. /454 g.), scrubbed clean
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 12 oz. (340 g.) kale, thick center rib removed and leaves roughly chopped
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb. / 454 g. total)
- 2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ of a jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, minced, optional
- 1 lime
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- mince the cilantro and transfer to a small, non-metallic bowl (so that the lime juice doesn’t react with the bowl). add the garlic and jalapeño, if using. zest the lime and add the zest to the bowl. juice the lime and add to the bowl. add the extra virgin olive oil and stir until the sauce is combined thoroughly. set aside. the sauce can be made up to a day in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator (a day or two longer than that and it still tastes ok but the vibrant green color begins to turn more muddy brown.)
- preheat the oven to 425° F. have on hand 2 large rimmed baking sheets.
- put the chicken breasts into a large ziploc bag and pound with a meat tenderizer (or rolling pin) until the breasts are uniformly (just slightly under) ½” thick. this is important so the chicken will cook thoroughly before the potatoes and kale burn.
- (i didn’t peel any of the potatoes but if you want to, feel free.) cut the fingerling potatoes in half lengthwise and set in a large mixing bowl (large enough to hold all of the kale later). cut the sweet potatoes into chunks that are a similar size and shape to the halved fingerling potatoes so that they cook at the same rate. add to the large bowl. drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the potatoes and then toss well to coat the potatoes thoroughly with the oil. evenly divide the potatoes between the two baking sheets and spread out in a single layer (set the bowl aside). roast for 12 – 15 minutes, alternating the position of the two baking sheets halfway through the roasting time, until the potatoes are browning on the bottom side but not all the way tender yet.
- while the potatoes are roasting, put the kale into the now-empty large bowl and drizzle with two teaspoons of olive oil. use your hands to massage the oil into the kale gently. we just want to make sure the kale is totally coated in oil; we don’t want to massage it as much as we would for a raw kale salad.
- once the potatoes have finished their initial roast, remove them from the oven and use a spatula to flip all of the potato pieces over. move the potatoes closer to the edge to create an empty space in the center of each baking sheet large enough for 1 of the chicken breasts. place one breast in the center of each baking sheet and then spread the kale out in an even layer over the potatoes and empty parts of the baking sheets, avoiding the chicken breasts (they are wet and so kale sitting atop the chicken doesn’t crisp up). set the empty bowl aside again.
- return the baking sheets to the oven to roast until the chicken reaches 165° F (or the breast looks cooked all the way through when you cut into the thickest/center part) and the kale is crispy and lightly browned. plan on 10 – 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after about 6 minutes, but definitely go by how your chicken is doing. if the chicken is done before the kale is crispy, remove the chicken from the baking sheets and return them to the oven. if the kale is turning dark brown and the chicken isn’t done yet, lay a piece of foil over each baking sheet (don’t crimp it on) and wait for the chicken to be fully cooked before removing the baking sheet or any of the ingredients.
- once everything is cooked, remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the chicken to a serving platter or individual plates. immediately top the chicken with about 1/3 of the chimichurri sauce (the hot chicken picks up the flavors from the sauce even better than after it has cooled off a bit). transfer the potatoes and kale back to the large bowl once more. toss with about ¾ of what is left of the chimichurri sauce. taste and add more sauce if desired, or pass remaining sauce at the table.
- leftover potatoes and kale and/or leftover chimichurri are fast friends with eggs for an easy breakfast (or lunch or dinner!). they return to their best crispy selves if you have time to heat them in an uncovered skillet or the (toaster) oven, but the microwave works if you just want to warm them up.