A one-pot dish that’s very, very simple to make. The sauce is to die for. But why ranch style? Speedy named this dish. I suppose it reminded him of old-style cooking where everything is thrown into a pot and allowed to cook slowly. Originally, I was going to call it skillet chicken with fennel seeds and cayenne pepper. When Alex asked, “Mommy, what’s for lunch?” that was the name I gave her. Strangely enough, she responded with “I didn’t understand anything from what you said!” I suppose Speedy overheard us and, after taking the photos, he renamed the dish old ranch-style chicken. Friendlier name. Easier to remember and recall.
Now, the lowdown. You will need a very heavy pan to cook this dish. If you use anything with a thin bottom, everything that touches the pan will burn before everything is cooked through. I used a cast iron skillet; you can use ceramic or something made with clay. I cooked this dish on the stovetop but it may also be cooked in the oven. Whether you cook it on the stovetop or the oven, remember to cover the cooking pan tightly as you don’t want to allow too much steam to escape.
Butterfly the chicken. Meaning, cut through the breast, all the way through the bone so that you can open up and spread the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a heavy skillet. Add the potato wedges. Cook until lightly browned along the edges. Scoop out the half-cooked potatoes and transfer to a bowl. In the remaining butter, add the butterflied chicken, skin side down. Cook over high heat for five to six minutes or until the skin is lightly browned.
Flip the chicken over, and arrange the potatoes around it. Sprinkle the mustard, cayenne pepper, and fennel seeds over the chicken and potatoes. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Pour in the broth (or water), bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan tightly. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes. There Is No Need to Stir. At the end of the cooking time, check the liquid in the pan. If there appears to be too much liquid, turn up the heat and cook the chicken and vegetables over high heat for another five minutes, uncovered, or until the sauce is reduced to a few tablespoonfuls. To serve, cut the chicken into serving-size pieces, and place them on individual plates. Add vegetables on the side. Drizzle with the sauce from the pan.