I Heart Cooking Clubs - Mark Bittman Edition: Potluck for supper

My favorite theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs is Potluck. Where we get to do what we want, from anything.

Not that the themes are very restrictive, far from it! But just saying Potluck brings images of variety and surprise. You never know exactly what you are going to get at a Potluck (except maybe for potato salad - doesn't someone always bring potato salad?)

I went very simple for my selection this week. I started by doing a search for Mark Bittman recipes online that involved chicken thighs. Found a couple of interesting ones that I haven't tried yet, and also found one on his own site for chicken parts.

Roast chicken parts with Olive oil or butter, with a bunch of variations. I went with olive oil and butter, used the thighs I had on hand, and added a full head of garlic, from one of the suggested "ideas."

Pretty good, actually. I had 3 boys eating dinner with me that night, all under 11, and all 3 of them enjoyed it and complimented me on it. My oldest is currently obsessed with chicken caesar salad, so he was thrilled to rip his chicken apart and mix it into his salad, the more garlic the better, while my youngest ate his chicken without running to the fridge for the Ranch dressing (something that rarely happens - that child will eat almost anything if you give him Ranch dressing, but isn't picky, since he asks for sushi for breakfast.)

I have to admit - I've really enjoyed being able to be back in the kitchen, even if just to make something as simple as roast chicken thighs with oodles of garlic.

So? Did anyone bring any potato salad?

Roast chicken thighs with olive oil or butter

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or butter
1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 8 pieces, or any combination of parts (I used 9 chicken thighs)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Several cloves of garlic (20 wouldn't be too many) (I used an entire head)

Heat the oven to 450°F. Put the oil or butter in a roasting pan and put it in the oven for a couple of minutes, until the oil is hot or the butter melts. Add the chicken and turn it a couple of times in the fat, leaving it skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper , add the garlic, and return the pan to the oven.

After the chicken has cooked for 15 minutes, and turn the pieces. Roast for another 10 minutes.

Turn the chicken over (now skin side up again), and cook until the chicken is done (you’ll see clear juices if you make a small cut in the meat near the bone), a total of 30 to 40 minutes at most. Skim excess fat from the pan juices if necessary; serve, with some of the juices spooned over it.