Why This Recipe Works: To infuse smashed potatoes with savory chicken drippings, we butterfly a chicken and roast it on top of a bed of potatoes. Yukon Gold potatoes turn into a silky, supple mash with a potato masher. To prevent browning the potatoes in the oven, we add some water to the pan and slice them rather than cut them into chunks. A half-cup of half-and-half gives extra creaminess. And a vibrant parsley sauce with capers and lemon juice rounds out the dish with a fresh element.
Take care when cooking the potatoes on the stovetop in step 4, as the skillet handle will be very hot. The parsley sauce can be made up to two days in advance.
Chicken and Potatoes
1. For the chicken and potatoes: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place chicken breast side down on cutting board. Using kitchen shears, cut through bones on either side of backbone; discard backbone. Flip chicken over and press on breastbone to flatten. Tuck wingtips behind back. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Rub skin side of chicken with oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
2. Combine potatoes, water, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in 12-inch ovensafe skillet. Place chicken breast side up on top of potato mixture. Bring potato mixture to boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, transfer skillet to oven and roast until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 50 minutes to 1 hour 5 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through roasting.
3. For the parsley sauce: Meanwhile, combine parsley, oil, capers, shallot, and lemon juice in bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
4. Return skillet to stovetop. Transfer chicken to carving board and let rest for 15 minutes. Bring potato mixture to simmer over medium-high heat (skillet handle will be hot). Cook until potatoes are fully tender and all liquid has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Off heat, use potato masher to coarsely smash potatoes, leaving some chunks intact. Stir in half-and-half and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Carve chicken and serve with potatoes and parsley sauce.