Carluccio's Chicken

Carluccio's Chicken
This is based on a recipe my dad cooked, which he credited to the late, great, Antonio Carluccio. I've never actually seen the recipe as published by him, if indeed it ever was, that said it's not the most complicated of things to cook. You end up with crispy skinned chicken, miniature crispy roasted potato bites, sweet slightly caramelised onion and the icing on the cake is the roasted sweet and sticky garlic that can be squeezed out of the cloves.
Carluccio's Chicken
chicken, potato, garlic, chicken skin


Serves: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour


  • 2 chicken legs, split into drumsticks and thighs
  • 600g potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 fat cloves of garlic
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200° fan-assisted
  2. Whilst the oven is pre-heating, pat dry the skin on the chicken with some kitchen towel
  3. Peel the potatoes and chop them into even pieces about three to four centimetres in length - you want pieces that just have to be cut in two so that they can be eaten
  4. Peel the onion and cut into six to eight wedges
  5. Place the chicken pieces in a heavy based roasting tin skin side up, then also place the onion wedges around them
  6. Tumble the pieces of potato into the pan so that they fall around the chicken and onion, adjusting them so that they all have some of their surface in contact with the roasting tin
  7. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken, onion and potatoes then season everything well with salt and pepper
  8. Finely chop the rosemary and thyme, then sprinkle it over the tray
  9. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, before adding the garlic cloves and returning to the oven for another 40 minutes

This is surprisingly forgiving if you leave it in the oven for longer, though any garlic cloves that are in direct contact with the pan will cook quicker and go from soft, sweet and sticky garlic paste to inedible in fairly short order. Adjust the cooking time up, or down, depending on whether the chicken skin has crisped up or not.


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    This is from Carluccio’s first book: An Introduction To Italian Cooking, first published in 84/85. Your dad’s version adds thyme, which isn’t in the original, or in the one I shall put in the oven shortly. Antonio’s version also turns the oven down to 180C after the first 20 minutes, and adds another stir at 40 mins.

    It’s been a staple in our family since we bought the book when it first came out.

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    Right: I checked. The book is from 1986. The full text of the recipe follows:

    Pollo Al Forno Con Patate

    This homely dish is known in all the regions of Italy. Chicken used to be a Sunday dish, but is now eaten on any day of the week. As this is an easy recipe which does not require much preparation time, it is highly suitable for a weekday meal.

    Serves 6

    One roasting chicken weighing l.5kg (3 lb)
    1 kg (2 lb) medium-sized yellow waxy potatoes
    1 onion
    2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
    20 unpeeled doves garlic
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    10 tbs olive oil

    Preheat the oven to hot (220°C, 425°F or gas mark7).

    Clean the chicken and cut it up into 12-16 pieces. Peel the Potatoes and cut them into quarters, then slice the onion. Put the chicken pieces together with the potatoes into a baking tray, mix together with the sliced onion and the whole rosemary leaves. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the olive oil. Scatter the unpeeled garlic cloves on the top and place in the oven. After 20 minutes, tum the heat down to I90°C (375ºF or gas mark 5) , During the roasting time, turn the chicken and ptlatoes over occasionally so that they cook evenly on all sides. The potatoes should be golden and the garlic crisp after about l hour. Serve with salad.

    Hope that helps!

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    This sounds just too simple to be absolutely delicious - but it is perfect to feed a crowd (as long as you have a big enough roasting dish) and extremely economical. We love it, and eat it often.

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