There is a roast chicken recipe from Cooks Illustrated that I've made for years now. You spatchcock the bird (remove the spine and flatten it), place it on a broiler pan, fill the bottom of the pan with sliced potatoes, and roast at 500F for an hour or so. The chicken is good, and the potatoes both prevent the chicken drippings from burning and become delicious cooked in the chicken fat.

Recently when making the recipe I threw some sliced onions in with the potatoes and the flavor profile reminded me of a latke (Jewish potato pancake traditional around Hanukkah). This made me wonder whether I could shred the potatoes rather than slice them and make a giant chicken-fat-fried latke to go with my chicken.

My question is whether I should add a binder to the shredded potato (and if so, if I ought to use more or less than a standard latke recipe). Normally to make latkes I add flour and egg to the shredded potatoes and grated onion. My concern is that the extended high temperature cooking might be too much for the binders, causing them to overcook.

  • It's not really part of the question, but since someone is likely to ask: I'm not too worried about the outside of the potatoes crisping up under this scheme, as you would want in a standard latke. With sliced potatoes the bottom surface usually crisps up, and I figure I can always throw the pan of potatoes back in the oven (perhaps under the broiler) while the chicken rests. – rsandler Aug 9 at 14:16
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    I think it is an excellent idea, and would not add any binders. I think crispy will happen, and will be excellent. I would suggest you use a cast iron pan, just for this purpose. The top, under the chicken will probably remain moist. You could remove chicken and flip. Cast iron will retain heat, and probably finish the job while the chicken rests. The original bottom might be quite dark, but probably awesome. Sounds delicious. Please report back! – moscafj Aug 9 at 20:36

I wouldn't add binder in this case. When you cook the chicken over the potatoes the drippings have a lot of water, not just fat. Also the baking dish isn't going to reach frying pan temperature. Under those conditions flour will turn gluey and you'll get an uncooked flour taste with it. Egg is more likely to work, however it's a long cooking time and likely to get rubbery. I'd treat this more like a hash brown, shred the spuds long, then get as much water out of them as you can before using them. I'd be interested to know the results if you try it, potentially sounds delicious.

  • Would flour really stay undercooked? The sliced potatoes generally get quite soft, which I assume means the internal temperature gets hot enough to cook wheat flour as well (I assume over 200F, though I've never checked). – rsandler Aug 9 at 16:58
  • I'm not saying it won't cook @rsandler, just that it isn't going to have the consistency you're after. – GdD Aug 9 at 18:38

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