Slow-cooked Mediterranean-spiced chicken is finished in the oven and served with flavorful Hassleback potatoes. A winter-favorite of mine, this meal comes together easily in the Instant Pot.
This recipe has been is one that I’ve been planning to write about for a long time now. There aren’t many combinations as good a simple chicken and potato meal. The chicken roast is my take on some of my favorite Mediterranean-inspired flavors, and is such a simple meal to put together in the Instant Pot. The flavor of the chicken thighs intensifies with the addition of za’atar, pomegranate molasses and other spices, giving it a beautiful, heady aroma as it slow cooks. The house smells like pure heaven when I make this!
I literally just throw in the chicken, onions and garlic with all the seasonings and spices, and let it slow cook in the Instant Pot for 2 hours. Then, I transfer just the chicken and onions into a roasting pan, and grill it in the oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I let the sauce simmer with a little balsamic in the Instant Pot (on saute mode) and once it has reduced, I pour it on over the chicken and serve. There is minimal babysitting involved here, just an occasional stirring while the sauce simmers.
Hasselback potatoes are gorgeous, don’t you think? Just scoring them ups the glamour quotient of the humble spud! They are intensely flavorful as well. The potatoes are parboiled in the Instant Pot and then in the oven. I pressure cook the potatoes, skin-on (make sure you’ve scrubbed them well).
Once cooked, transfer the potatoes to an ice bath, to prevent them from cooking further. Then, make thin slices 3 quarters of the way through. A tip here is to insert a bamboo skewer or a toothpick through the potato, marking the depth that the knife should go. This way, you make even cuts with the knife.
This next step is a bit of a pain, to be honest, but don’t skip it, as it makes all the difference – insert finely-sliced garlic into the grooves of the potato, packing it with as much garlic as you can manage! Melt a tablespoon of butter (or use olive oil) and brush the melted butter over the potatoes, getting that buttery goodness into the grooves. Insert a few sprigs of rosemary and sprinkle some coarse sea salt. Finally, bake away for 40 minutes, until the potato skin is beautiful and golden.
Finally, when you plate up and dig in, you’ll love the pairing of the potatoes with the chicken. You’ll see how this is not just your regular roast chicken and potatoes!
- For the roast chicken:
- 1 kilo chicken thighs, skin-on (6-7 chicken thighs)
- 1 teaspoon za'atar spice mix
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon (regular) molasses
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley (fresh or dried) + 1 extra teaspoon chopped parsley for garnish
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ a chicken stock cube (optional)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 large red onions, thickly sliced
- 3 garlic pods, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon balsamic sauce
- For the Hasselback potatoes:
- 6-7 medium-sized salad potatoes
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 4-5 garlic pods, finely sliced
- A few rosemary sprigs
- A teaspoon coarse sea salt ( I used pink Himalayan salt)
- Make the roast chicken:
- In the Instant Pot (or a slow cooker), add the chicken together with all the ingredients listed under roast chicken, except the balsamic sauce.
- Cook on 'Slow Cook' mode (on the 'Normal' setting) for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, take out the chicken and onions, and transfer to a baking tray lined with foil (leave the sauce in the pot).
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C or 350 F for 30 minutes, on the grill setting. Let the skin crisp up a little.
- Meanwhile, switch to 'Saute' mode on the Instant Pot (or transfer contents of the IP to a saucepan) and add the balsamic to the sauce.
- Let the sauce simmer and reduce for at least 10 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
- To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken and plate up with a garnish of chopped parsley.
- For the Hasselback potatoes:
- In the Instant Pot, cover the potatoes with enough water to just cover them.
- Add a tablespoon of salt and pressure cook the potatoes in Manual mode, on 'High' setting, for '0' minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
- Once done, take out the potatoes and add them to an ice bath to stop them from cooking.
- Then make thin cuts on the potatoes, letting the knife go around 3-quarters into the potatoes.
- Tip: You could insert a skewer or a toothpick lengthwise into the potato, marking the depth to which the knife should make the cut. This helps in making even cuts.
- Insert as many garlic slivers as you con into the grooves of the potatoes (see notes if you want to skip this step).
- Using a pastry brush, dab on the melted butter on the potatoes. Let the butter get into the grooves.
- Tuck in the rosemary sprigs, sprinkle the sea salt and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C or 350 F for 40 minutes.
- Serve as a side with the chicken.
Za'atar is a Middle-Eastern spice blend and along with pomegranate molasses, can be found in most ethnic stores.
If you are unable to find pomegranate molasses, try using cranberry concentrate and molasses as a substitute.
Stuffing the garlic slivers into the grooves of the potatoes make then very flavorful, but it can get time-consuming. If you want to avoid this step, simply warm the butter with chopped garlic on the stove-top on low heat for a minute. Then pour the butter-garlic mixture over the potatoes.
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I am bringing these holiday canapes to this week’s Fiesta Friday , where all participants are voting this week!