My Mother's Chicken and Potatoes (Lidia's)

Source: Lidia's Family Table by Lidia Bastianich
adapted by http://theresalwaysthyme.blogspot.com

2 1/2 pounds chicken legs (separated the drumsticks from the thighs) or assorted pieces (bone-in) (I take the skin off! Cut big pieces, like breasts in smaller pieces)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 pound small potatoes, preferably no bigger than 2 inches across (I used fingerlings)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or more
2 onions, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 branches fresh rosemary
2 pickled cherry peppers, sweet or hot, or none -- or more! Cut in half and seeded (I used both sweet and hot)
Bacon (optional)

Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels.

Pour the canola oil into the skillet and set over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt on all sides. When the oil is very hot, lay the pieces in it, skin side down, an inch or so apart -- watch out for oil spatters. Don't crowd the chicken: if necessary, fry it in batches, with similar pieces (like drumsticks) together.

Let the chicken pieces fry in place for several minutes to brown on the underside, then turn and continue frying until they're golden brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes or more. Fry breast pieces only for 5 minutes or so, taking them out of the oil as soon as they are golden. Let the bacon rolls cook and get lightly crisp, but not dark. Adjust the heat to maintain steady sizzling and coloring; remove the crisped chicken pieces with tongs to a bowl.

Meanwhile, rinse and dry the potatoes; slice each one in half, then toss them with the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

When all the chicken and bacon, if using, is cooked and out of the skillet, pour off the oil. Return the skillet to medium heat and put in all the potatoes, cut side down in a single layer, into the hot pan. Drizzle a bit more oil if the pan seems dry. Fry and crisp the potatoes for about 4 minutes to form a crust, then move them around the pan, still cut side down, until they're all brown and crisp, 7 minutes or more. Turn them over, and fry another 2 minutes to cook and crisp the other sides of the potatoes.

If cooking everything together:
Still over medium heat, toss the onion wedges and rosemary branches around the pan, in with the potatoes. If using cherry peppers (either hot or sweet), cut the seeded halves into 1/2-inch-wide pieces and scatter them in the pan too.

Return the chicken pieces -- except breast pieces -- to the pan, pour in any juices that have accumulated. Raise the heat slightly, and carefully turn and tumble the chicken, potatoes, and onion (and bacon and/or pepper pieces), so they're heating and getting coated with pan juices but take care not to break the potato pieces. Spread everything out in the pan - potatoes on the bottom as much as possible, to keep crisping up - and cover.

Return the heat to medium, and cook for about 7 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, then uncover, and tumble the pieces and potatoes (and bacon rolls) again. Cover, and cook another 7 minutes or so, adding the breast pieces at this point. Give everything another tumble. Now cook covered for 10 minutes more.

Remove the cover, turn the pieces again, and cook in the open skillet for about 10 minutes, to evaporate the moisture and caramelize everything. Taste a bit of the potato (or chicken) for salt, and sprinkle on more as needed. Turn the pieces now and then; when they are all glistening and golden, and the potatoes are cooked through, remove the skillet from the stove. Serve family style.
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