One 3 to 4-pound chicken (1.5 to 2 kilograms), organic is best
Salt and pepper
dried Greek oregano
1 small onion, peeled and cut into quarters
2 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
4 large baking potatoes, or use more if you want leftovers
the juice of two lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
If you want to be really traditional, use a round baking pan. Perhaps the choice of a round pan dates back to the days when round clay pots were used for baking.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C.
- Traditionally, before Greeks roast a chicken, they wash it well, then place it in a bowl in the sink and pour a kettleful of boiling water over it. This will kill some bacteria, but it will also toughen the skin so that the chicken will be juicier when fully cooked. So pour the hot water over the chicken, then remove the bird from the sink and pat it dry with paper towels. (When it's time for clean up, use a 10% bleach solution: that's a ratio of 10% beach and 90% water — on the surfaces that were exposed to the raw chicken).
- Sprinkle the juice of one lemon into its cavity and season it with salt and pepper.
- Place the onion pieces and the garlic into the cavity and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
- Peel the potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise and then slice each half in four. The slices should look like wedges.
- Place the chicken in a roasting pan and surround it with the potato wedges.
- Use the juice of the second lemon to season the potatoes and the outside of the chicken.
- Pour the olive oil over everything and season again with salt and pepper.
- Get your oregano and sprinkle it all over the chicken and potatoes. Don’t be stingy with it, but don’t pour it on too liberally, either. (I have never measured exactly how much I use). This dish requires a strong oregano flavour, but if too much is used, the chicken and potatoes might come out tasting bitter.
- Pour 1/4 cup of water into the pan, taking care not to spill any of it on the chicken.
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes.
- Lower the heat to 400°F/200°C and cook for another hour. The end result: a golden chicken, and potatoes deliciously saturated with the cooking juices!