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Smoky Roasted Chicken Breasts with Potatoes and Sherry Sauce

Spanish smoked paprika, known as pimentón, is brick red in color and boasts a smoky flavor that is deliciously meaty, with earthy hints of cocoa. Its bold taste pairs well with the sharp-flavored cumin and aromatic oregano in the spice rub, and with the toasty garlic and crisp dry sherry in the pan sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil for greasing, plus 4 Tbs.  
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds 
  • 2 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika 
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano 
  • 3 tsp. kosher salt  
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper 
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves, each about 3/4 lb.  
  • 1 1/2 lb. small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered 
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry 
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth or stock 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a flameproof roasting pan.

In a small, dry fry pan over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool. Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, finely grind the cumin seeds. In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, paprika, oregano, 2 tsp. of the salt and 1/2 tsp. of the pepper.

Arrange the chicken breasts, skin side up, in the prepared roasting pan. Brush the breasts with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and season with the cumin mixture. Put the potatoes in a bowl. Add 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, the remaining 1 tsp. salt and the remaining 1/2 tsp. pepper and stir to coat evenly. Scatter the potatoes around the chicken.

Roast, using a metal spatula to turn the potatoes occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breasts, away from the bone, registers 160°F, about 40 minutes. Transfer the chicken and potatoes to a warmed platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Pour off the fat from the roasting pan. Place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and pour in the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic has softened but not browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the sherry and broth and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and potatoes and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).