My latest New Statesman column is about how I am not always principled enough to do the ethical, ecological thing; and about how I am not always sure what the ethical thing is. Someone who is sure, on the subject of Israeli potatoes, has made a comment here.
I bought a much better batch of Jerseys at the weekend. I did not use them, though, on a version of this recipe, which I made with a particularly flavoursome Label Anglais chicken. The French potatoes were ideal, retaining their shape and their waxy texture.
This is an example of a dish that might not pass the highest culinary examination, but that is nevertheless home cooking at its best. The potatoes, not having lost their surface starch through parboiling, have a slimy quality -- in this context, delicious. Also, they have soaked up the chicken juices, as well as oil, garlic (I put whole cloves in the chicken cavity), and lemon (squeezed over the bird, and then placed inside the cavity).
To summarise: rub chicken with olive oil, season, squirt with lemon juice, stuff cavity with lemon hulls and unpeeled garlic cloves, and roast at gas mark 6/200C for 30 minutes; turn down heat to gas mark 2/150C, and roast for a further 90 minutes. (My chicken was 2kg.) Scrape and slice potatoes, transfer to bowl of water. Drain, and tip into the roasting tin, around and under the chicken, when there are 45 minutes to go. At the end of the two hours cooking time, transfer chicken to a plate, and allow to rest. Turn up oven to full heat, and cook potatoes, turning them if necessary, until they are brown and have absorbed most of the liquid -- about 20 to 30 minutes. The chicken should still be pretty hot; if it is lukewarm, no matter.
This version has some variations on my earlier one, largely because of the different oven temperatures here and in France. Also, I did not bother trying to remove some of the potato starch with paper towels. Why had I been so fussy?